Yesterday, I got an email from Yahoo notifying me that the glitch had been fixed.

Yesterday, I received an email from Yahoo notifying me that the glitch had been fixed.

They all mean that I have got an email from Yahoo yesterday, is there any subtle difference between them?

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  • 2
    In this context, no difference in meaning, slight difference in register. – Jim Jul 16 '17 at 16:57
  • @Jim what does it mean 'in register'? – user239460 Jul 16 '17 at 17:16
  • Google says, “a variety of a language or a level of usage, as determined by degree of formality and choice of vocabulary, pronunciation, and syntax, according to the communicative purpose, social context, and social status of the user.” – Jim Jul 16 '17 at 17:18
  • 1
    Basically one's more formal than the other. – marcellothearcane Jul 16 '17 at 17:34
  • 4
    Receive is considered more formal, because it is a loanword, while get is considered more informal. But you can write "get" in a formal English exam paper with no risk of receiving a penalty :) – Mari-Lou A Jul 16 '17 at 17:48

"Received" has a more formal tone than "got", but also, in this instance "received" might carry a hint of movement in [willingly] "taking into one's possession" ... a sort of coming into one's possession with one's acquiescence. That hint is completely missing with "got". This aspect becomes rather clearer if you were to consider changing the item being conveyed into your possession from an "email" to a "cold" - as in "I received a cold from Jacob yesterday." I suggest that this latter use of "received" is sadly awry ... and for the reasons suggested!


You can say this discussion may get too complicated.

But you cannot say this discussion may receive too complicated.

But when it means to gain possession of something, then receive is a bit more formal than get.

  • 2
    But "get" in your sentence is closer in meaning to "become", and means a change in state.That is why you cannot substitute "receive". – Cascabel Jul 16 '17 at 18:38
  • 2
    That’s a completely different context than the OP. – Jim Jul 17 '17 at 1:24

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