Email systems are notorious for sending messages to “la la land,” never to be heard from again. And, email viruses are continually running rampant and wreaking havoc. So, if you’re worried that your message didn’t arrive, you have a valid concern.

How can you verify that someone received your message without using the return receipt function and running the risk of offending the person? What other options are available to ensure your message was received?

If you think your message didn’t arrive because you haven’t received a response in a reasonable amount of time, try sending another message. Here’s the “magic trick.” Make it clear that the only purpose of this second correspondence is to confirm receipt of the first message.


Here are a few examples of a second message you can send to verify an email was received.

Sample One (Informal tone):
“I’m not trying to rush you. I simply want to verify that you received my message.”

Sample Two (More formal tone):

“Please verify receipt of this message now. I look forward to your response to the inquiry at a later time.”

Note: The purpose of these examples is to provide you with sample wording. Be sure to put the message in your own words.


As a writer, I send a lot of messages to magazine editors. They’re notorious for two things: 1) changing their email addresses; and 2) not responding to correspondence.

So, I’m often in a quandary when I don’t receive a response to my correspondence. Did the editor not receive my proposal? Is the editor simply not interested? It’s a difficult situation.

In most cases, I’ll send a second message to verify receipt. Let me share the results of follow-up messages I sent to three people.

In two instances, the recipients hadn’t received my original message. In these cases, they thanked me for following up and for re-sending my proposal. (And, they both bought articles!)

In the third instance, the person had received my original message. I received a curt reply telling me to “be more patient.” He was clearly irritated.

The point of this example is – this isn’t an exact science. There are no clearly defined answers to the issue of verifying receipt of an email message. You have to use good judgment and analyze each situation in order to use email more effectively.

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