I have a friend who is using "acknowledge" when someone asks him to confirm something. Usually I observe people using "Okay, noted." but I never see anyone using "Acknowledge". Therefore I want to check that it is okay to use "Acknowledge" instead of "Okay, noted." in response to an email?

  • 2
    (Just for fun) If your friend is a network admin/developer, saying acknowledge in such a situation is not unusual!! :) "In data networking, an acknowledgement (or acknowledgment) is a signal passed between communicating processes or computers to signify acknowledgement, or receipt of response, as part of a communications protocol". (Wikipedia)
    – Eilia
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 5:09
  • @Eilia: I am aware of that, but I guess he is misusing this word, because somehow it looks not appropriate word when someone ask you to do an activity and then you say acknowledge! I prefer to get your idea because my mother language is not English.
    – Amir
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 5:12
  • @Eilia though in that case I would almost be less surprised to see simply "ACK" (or perhaps "SYN/ACK" if the respondent is feeling whimsical) :-P
    – David Z
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 7:43

5 Answers 5


You could certainly use acknowledged. You need the past tense form.

"Acknowledge" in the present tense will look like a command to the person who receives the email, not as a response.

In general, I find if you only say this, it will sound a bit terse and could be taken as rude.

Generally, I prefer less formal responses like your example or "OK, got it", "Thanks, I'll make a note of that".

  • So it is not recommended?
    – Amir
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 5:07
  • @rima It's perfectly fine to use; you just have to make sure you use it in its past tense form, "acknowledged".
    – Dog Lover
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 6:47

There are two words in the lingo of aviation radio communication, "roger" and "wilco." The first (named after the name of the letter "R" in the old radio alphabet) stands for "I received your transmission." "Willco" is short for "I have received your transmission and will comply with your order." When your friend replies to a message by saying "acknowledged," it sounds like he means "roger." If that message is a request or a command, the sender is not only interested in hearing that the message has been received, but he also wants to know whether the request will be honored or the command obeyed. "Roger" and "acknowledged" don't give that assurance. To avoid confusion in that instance, your friend should find some locution that means wilco.

  • I agree. "Acknowledge" means "I have got your message" but it very much doesn't mean "I will do what you asked". Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 7:12


  1. accept or admit the existence or truth of.

  2. recognize the importance or quality of.


  1. notice or pay particular attention to (something).

  2. record (something) in writing.

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

I use acknowledge a lot too :P.

When you acknowledge something, you understand the importance and the truth of the fact being told to you. It goes far beyond just understanding or noting the point. The word note doesn't have such a powerful connotation or impact attached to it. It more or less means mechanically(or mentally) jotting down what is told to you regardless of what its importance is.

Moreover, the word acknowledgement is more formal. "Okay, noted" is something you would use in colloquial English.

If the mail you're writing is a formal one, related to business or school or anything like that, you can say "I acknowledge the fact that..."

If you're writing to a friend or a relative, you can say "I've noted your point."

For ex: I completely acknowledge that this project is my own creation.

I acknowledge(you can use admit also) that ____ is my own son and that I shall be funding his undergraduate education. (Here, acknowledgement means that you are responsible for the fact you've stated.)

I understood the point that you were trying to get across. I've noted it.

  • well, the person using only one single word. I do agree with you if she write a sentence, acknowledge could be more formal. but when you want to reply a mail with a single word, which one is more popular?
    – Amir
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 6:02
  • What does she say? "Acknowledged."? Both will work, but "noted" would be better. Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 6:49

From the M-W, acknowledge means

to say that you accept or do not deny the truth or existence of (something)

to tell or show someone that something (such as a letter or message) has been received

E.g. He quickly acknowledges all of my e-mails when he receives them.

So, it's correct to say acknowledged when someone asking to confirm something, however it looks unusual.

  • No, acknowledging an email merely means confirming its arrival. If you're asked to confirm something in the email, e.g., an appointment, acknowledging that you got the request to confirm the appointment does not confirm the appointment itself.
    – deadrat
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 7:15

Acknowledgement is recognition of the fact(s) or points as stated. Unless a very legal issue, it should suffice as to be acted upon. Per the military reference, Wilco, is quite specific that the recipient of the communication 'will-comply' with the directive. In business an 'acknowledgment' should be a 'will-comply' and should simply be confirmed as such between the parties; however, if necessary for legal reasons then 'acknowledgement' only could be simply 'yes, I agree' but not necessarily that they shall act accordingly.

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