I just got a receipt which said "Received with thanks the sum of ..." Thanks stands for gratitude, so this looks fine to me as far as grammar is concerned.

But is this old-fashioned and/or stilted? Are there more formal ways of expressing this idea?

  • 5
    It's the normal formula. Just be thankful that someone is thanking you. Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 11:01
  • 2
    More formal? Or more common? (More formal ways of saying this wouldn't necessarily sound less stilted...)
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 11:03
  • But it's use seems to be decreasing.
    – user20934
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 11:03
  • 3
    I am not sure searching a corpus of books reflects what is written on receipts. Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 11:13

2 Answers 2


Dictionary.com defines stilted as "stiffly dignified or formal, as speech or literary style; pompous." Named synonyms include terms like artificial, affected and forced, which imply something unnatural or insincere. Official and business writing tends to be formalized in an attempt to make it sound sincere, even though the result may be just the opposite.

In this case I'd say the phrase received with thanks in written form deserves the benefit of the doubt and isn't stilted, especially if it is routinely used in the course of business.

On the other hand, if someone said to me "I received with thanks the sum of 10 dollars from that fellow over there," that would strike me as very stilted (or I would think I was in the middle of a Dickens story).

In any event the expression is definitely formal enough on its own.

  • My written receipts all take the form 'Received with thanks [signature][date]' Commented Jul 1, 2012 at 22:44

It is not old-fashioned or stilted. Writing "received with gratitude" would be more old fashioned and stilted.

More formal... leave off the thanks! See an example here: http://www.agriscience.msu.edu/specialprojects/Chapter%20Officer%20Development-Michelle%20Guthrie/TREASURER/9%20WRITING%20RECEIPTS.pdf

  • The pdf link doesn't work, for me, that is. A case of link rot, me thinks.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 9:50
  • Not just you... it doesn't work for me now either! Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 9:53
  • OK, pity. It's a good reminder for everyone to include a summary or a screenshot in answers, and not only a link.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 9:54

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.