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I am a PhD student. Sometimes my professor sends me an email to inform me about something. Can I used well received to respond to her message ?

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    As compared to poorly received? Are you trying to simply confirm that her email arrived, or do you want to comment on how you appreciate the contents, or...? – nnnnnn Jun 1 at 0:19
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If you want simply to confirm to your professor that you have received a message, well received conveys more than that. Well received, which is sometimes hyphenated, means that something has gotten a good reaction or has been viewed with approval. For example, "The book was well received by critics." See Macmillan and Collins for examples of dictionary definitions.

While I was looking for sources, I was interested to see that well received is quite often misused in professional emails to convey confirmation of receipt. See Daily Jambo, where it's cited as "one of five commonly misused phrases in emails".

In short, if you respond to your professor that her email has been well received, you are telling her not that you received it, but that you liked it and found it well written or that it contained good ideas. It would sound a bit out of place. But more important, I think, it might come across as a little inappropriate, since she is supposed to be advising you and reviewing your work, whereas you are not normally in a position to review hers.

If you want simply to confirm that you have received her email, a few of the choices you have are:

  • Thank you, I've received your message.
  • I confirm that I've received your message. (a bit more formal)
  • Receipt confirmed. (a bit curt and. distant)
  • Thank you for the information.
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    It should also be noted that, even in the contexts in which the phrase is not out of place, it is usually used for somebody else's reception of the thing in question. One does not normally say 'I have well received . . .'. – jsw29 Jun 1 at 0:54
  • @jsw29, yes, that's another problem with it. It's always used in the passive voice, which always sounds pedantic, and makes the writer sound like he doesn't want to take ownership of the statement. It's like when people say, "You will be missed," or "Your work is appreciated". – Isabel Archer Jun 1 at 0:58

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