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    #1

    we are in receipt of / we have received

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to tell me your preference concerning the following sentences?

    1. We are in receipt of your letter of the 8th January and sent it to our clients for their consideration.
    2. We have received your letter of the 8th January and sent it to our clients for their consideration.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards,

    V.
    Last edited by vil; 07-Feb-2009 at 08:29.

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    #2

    Re: we are in receipt of / we have received

    Definitely "we have received". There's no difference in meaning whatever, but "in receipt of" is an old cliche of commercial correspondence, like "inst." for "this month". Today it sounds affected and a little foolish.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: we are in receipt of / we have received

    2. We have received your letter of the 8th January and have sent it to our clients for their consideration.

    I agree with abaka but I think you need the second 'have' as well.

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    #4

    Re: we are in receipt of / we have received

    Hi bhaisahab,

    Thank you for your support.

    Much to my regret I beg to differ with the second part of your post. In maintenance of this my opinion I adduce the following arguments:

    Grammatical Rule: If there are two similar verbs and they have one and the same auxiliary verb (we have received and have sent) which are consolidated with “and” or “or”, the auxiliary verb in the second verb form have to be omitted.

    By analogy with the following case:

    We will sign the contract and send (not will send) it to you to-morrow.

    Regards,

    V.
    Last edited by vil; 07-Feb-2009 at 17:35.

  2. Offroad's Avatar
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    #5

    Smile Re: we are in receipt of / we have received

    interesting question, Vil, if you don't mind I am following this thread. The present perfect is still a mistery to me, there are more exceptions than rules.

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    #6

    Re: we are in receipt of / we have received

    (1) Have sent or sent?

    (a) In both the following sentences, the "sent" is part of a present perfect (see below, part 2 for the explanation):

    "We have received your letter of the 8th January and sent it to our clients for their consideration."

    "We have received your letter of the 8th January and have sent it to our clients for their consideration."

    The choice of whether to insert the "have" or not is a matter of style, not grammar. Because the separation between the "have" and the "sent" is rather long, the second "have" is good.

    Note that in

    We will sign the contract and send it to you tomorrow

    the separation is rather short, and so the "will" is not necessary, indeed better omitted. If your sentence had been simply

    We have received your letter and sent it to our clients for their consideration

    then the omission of the "have" whould have been irreproachable.

    I wish I could give a precise rule for how long the separation can be before the auxiliary verb should be repeated, but I can't. Again, though, this is a matter of style, not grammar.

    (b) In the first sentence, the "have" is positively required, for the earlier verb is not in the present perfect tense:

    We are in receipt of your letter of the 8th January and have sent it to our clients for their consideration.

    (2) Choice of present perfect or simple past

    This is the toughie, isn't it? There are two things to keep in mind:

    (a) The English "present perfect" tense is not the Latin perfectum, the French passÚ composÚ, or the Portuguese pretÚrito perfeito composto, whatever the grammar books say and whatever parallels they draw. As such, the English tense possesses its own internal logic that cannot be captured with any set of rules, no matter how many, that attempt to relate the English tense to tenses in other languages. And the key point to remember, as much cultural as linguistic, is this: English likes to live in the present, and does so, unless forced to refer to a precise moment in the past.

    (b) The present perfect is very much a present tense, not a past tense. It indicates the (completed) state of the verb's action right now. That the action itself must have taken place in the past is purely a logical consequence of the fact that its state is now complete ("perfect"); but the focus of the present perfect is the present state of affairs, not the past action.

    This is precisely why there is no difference in meaning whatever between "we have received the letter" and "we are [now!] in receipt of the letter". And this is also why it is better to continue with the present perfect in the second verb: "...and have sent it to our clients". We have in mind not what happened in the past, but what is happening now. The presentness of the situation is reinforced because we do not say at all when the present situation first arose; that is, when exactly we received the letter and forwarded to our clients.

    If, on the other hand, these dates are essential, then the focus of the thought naturally moves to the past, and the verb shifts to a simple past tense:

    [1] We received your letter ten days ago and sent it to our clients yesterday.

    But even so, there is a way to say the same thought in English while keeping everything in the present:

    [2] As of ten days ago, we have received your letter; as of yesterday, we have sent it to our clients.

    Sentence [2] is quite wordy, so [1] is obviously better. Nevertheless, the pull of the language into the present tense is so strong that it is natural to omit the dates, and to say:

    [3*] We have received your letter, and have sent it to our clients.

  3. IvanV's Avatar

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    #7

    Re: we are in receipt of / we have received

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Much to my regret I beg to differ with the second part of your post. In maintenance of this my opinion I adduce the following arguments:
    This is something I like to call logorrhoea. Please, do not take this as an offence, but as a mere friendly note: I really think you should keep your sentences simple and avoid using words that sound pompous in your context.

    All the best,
    Ivan

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    #8

    Re: we are in receipt of / we have received

    Quote Originally Posted by IvanV View Post
    This is something I like to call logorrhoea. Please, do not take this as an offence, but as a mere friendly note: I really think you should keep your sentences simple and avoid using words that sound pompous in your context.

    All the best,
    Ivan
    I appreciate your comment, but vil is someone, I think, who likes to use elegant (if for some of us somewhat dated) English. I like it (but then, I am a dinosaur).

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    #9

    Re: we are in receipt of / we have received

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    I appreciate your comment, but vil is someone, I think, who likes to use elegant (if for some of us somewhat dated) English. I like it (but then, I am a dinosaur).
    I won't go further, it's certainly subjective. Thank you for your opinion.

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