Posted by: janecronin | July 29, 2018


The verb “recibir” has the same Latin root as its English equivalent “receive” and also has similar related words such as “reception”, “receptionist” and “receipt”, along with a few more.

As far as the grammar of “recibir” goes, once more (and no doubt to your great relief) there is nothing of much interest to say.  It behaves like a standard “-ir” ending word and only has one basic meaning.  Actually, as you increase your vocabulary in Spanish you will find that this is more often the case than not.  It is actually the most common verbs like “to go” “to have” and “to be” which create most of our problems, and once you get on to more advanced or specific meanings, they settle down and start behaving themselves.

First of all, let’s look at some curious ways the Spanish use the basic conjugation of “recibir” to apply to different words that belong to other parts of speech.  You may we know the word “recibo” meaning “receipt” but what you may not have realised is that the word actually means “I receive” and comes about because of the layout of a receipt which often starts with the wording “recibo” – “I receive” a certain quantity of money from another person.  Also used is this way is a chit of paper called a “recibí”.  This again is part of the conjugation of “recibir” and means “I received” in the past tense.  A “recibí” is often used as confirmation of receipt of a parcel or other kind of delivery.

As already mentioned, the word “reception” comes from “receive” and likewise from “recibir” we have the word “recepción”.  We usually associate this word with hotels or office lobbies but we can also use it more figuratively to talk about the “receiving” or “receipt” of something.  For example, to confirm “receipt” of a letter we would use the phrase:  “Confirmo recepción de su carta” (I acknowledge receipt of your letter).  From the word “recepción” we obviously get the name of the job “recepcionista”.  Notice incidentally that it is one of those jobs that has the ending “-ista” irrespective of whether the job is done by a man or a woman – similar to “dentista”, “especialista” and “taxista”.

Another word that comes from “recibir” is “recibidor” which means “hall” or “vestibule”, in other words a place where you “receive” your guests, in a house somewhat larger than the one I live in.   There is also the word “recibimiento” which refers to the manner in which someone is welcomed, for example: “El público le dio al cantante un recibimiento muy entusiasmado” (the audience gave the singer an enthusiastic reception or welcome).  Finally, the word “recibir” can crop up at the end of letters, for example: “recibe un fuerte abrazo” (receive a big hug – i.e. lots of love) or “reciba un saludo” (yours sincerely).  In this last example “reciba” is in the subjunctive and is a kind of formal command.

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