What's a polite way of asking in an email if you've received a previous email?

In my case, "polite" means "I'm emailing the tourism information staff of a place that mainly deals with domestic tourists, and I don't want to be seen as a rude foreigner".

  • sorry for asking an english question but is "someone's received" a contraction of "someone has received"? Would it not be more correct to say, "Polite way of asking if someone received an email"/"Polite way of asking if someone has received an email?" Can you contract "has" in this instance? thanks and sorry for any uptight vibes.
    – yadokari
    Apr 6, 2013 at 14:45
  • 2
    @yadokari Yes, 's in this case is a clitic representing a contraction of has. I see nothing wrong with it.
    – user1478
    Apr 6, 2013 at 15:04

3 Answers 3


This is just an extended comment, but...

I think it depends on what you consider a polite way to ask whether someone received an email in English. Usually, pressing for an answer is just not something very polite to do. If you sent an email, I would call them and mention that you sent an email, but would like to ask directly. From the extra effort beyond the mail you sent already it should be obvious that you are expecting an answer soon, and the Japanese are certainly very fast to pick up on that.

If it has to be by email, then just asking the same thing again is just not very polite, not even in English. If you can come up with something else to ask, you could slip into that mail that you had already sent an email. (And include the mail you sent before at the bottom.)

I don't think I would send an email, but if I had to, I might start it like

I contacted you a few days ago by email, but I would also like to enquire about the following.

(I should add though, that polite language in written form is my weak point. Maybe somebody would be kind enough to correct/edit me.)

  • がございます sounds wrong to me here.
    – istrasci
    Apr 6, 2013 at 1:14
  • ^ but I'm not sure why...
    – istrasci
    Apr 6, 2013 at 1:36
  • Your "extended comment" was helpful. If I was better at Japanese, or less nervous about this request, I'd follow your suggestion about calling them. If I needed to make a phone call for this specific scenario, I'd be likely to go to a Japanese-speaking travel agent, and pay them to make the call. So thanks for the suggestion of how to do it in writing.
    – Golden Cuy
    Apr 6, 2013 at 2:11

I'd write:

  • ([恐]{おそ}れ[入]{い}ります。) [先日]{せんじつ}[送]{おく}らせていただいたメールですが、ご[確認]{かくにん}いただけましたでしょうか。
  • (恐れ入ります。) 先日メールを送らせていただいたのですが、ご[覧]{らん}いただけましたでしょうか。

It depends why you want to know if they received it. (Rhetorically) Do you want to reference the sent email in a follow-up question? Or did the mail contain some kind of data/information (like an account registration, etc.) and you merely want to ensure that it was actually received by someone?

It seems that @user1205935 answered the former question in his/her response. If your situation is the latter, you might say something like

お世話になっております。先日/先程メールを送りましたけれども、届いたかを確認したいんですけど。 → O-sewa ni natte orimasu*. I sent an email the other day/earlier; I'd like to confirm if/that it got there (was delivered).

* Momentarily spacing out on a good translation for お世話になる.

As a foreigner, you'll always sounds more polite if you start off with お世話になっております. Also, since you're a client of them, I'd say that you don't need to use "extreme" Keigo with them (like you would speaking to a business client). A modest amount of Keigo is probably enough since they're providing you some service. Even Teineigo could possibly be enough, but that might be pushing it.

  • Should that けど at the end be けれど or けれども to match the tone of the rest? Or is it okay?
    – user1478
    Apr 6, 2013 at 1:56
  • I just made them different to mix up the tone a little. I'd say they should probably match, but not really sure. Maybe make the first one and the last one け(れ)ど(も).
    – istrasci
    Apr 6, 2013 at 23:04

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