Chinese Words for Receive: 收到(shōudào), 得到(dédào) and受到(shòudào)

By Sujanti Djuanda – LingoLearn Chinese Teacher

收到(shōudào=to receive) means “someone sent you a physical thing (usually) and you receive it.”

Example 1:

I sent you an email a few days ago. Did you receive it?

前几天(qián​jǐ​tiān=a few days ago)我(wǒ=I​)给(gěi=for)你(nǐ=you)发(fā=send (electronic))了(le)一(yī=one)封(fēng=a measure word for email)(or 个(gè=a measure word for objects in general)邮件(yóujiàn=email)。你(nǐ=you)收到(shōu​dào=to receive)了(le)吗(ma)?

Example 2:

I paid the money, but haven’t received the goods yet.

我(wǒ​=I)付(fù=to pay)了(le)钱(qián=money​),但是(dàn​shì=but)还(hái=still)没(méi=not)收到(shōu​dào=to receive)货(huò=goods)。

IIa)得到(dédào=to get) is used when you get something after making an effort.

Example 1:

What did you get on the Math test?

你(nǐ​=you)数学(shùxué=math)考试(kǎoshì=exam)得到(dédào=to get)了(le)多少(duōshǎo=how many)分(fēn =mark)?

You cannot say:

你(nǐ=you)数学(shùxué=math)考试(kǎoshì)收到(shōu​dào=to receive)了(le)多少(duōshǎo=how many)分(fēn=mark)?

Example 2:

The boss wishes he could get a lot of money.

老板(lǎo​bǎn=boss)希望(xī​wàng​=to hope)能(néng=to be able)得到(dé​dào=to get)很(hěn=very)多(duō=a lot of)钱(qián=money)。

b) 得到(dédào=to get) can also means “you get what you want and feel so enthusiastic”

Example 1a:

I got an iPad!

我(wǒ=I)得到(dé​dào=to receive)了(le)iPad!

Compare with Example 1b:

I received an iPad.

我(wǒ=I)收到(shōu​dào=to receive)了(le)iPad。


收到(shōudào=to receive) means “you just received something.”

III)受到(shòudào=to suffer from (not a medical sense), to receive) is often used to receive negative/bad (abstract) things.

Example 1:

His jokes are not only no one likes, but also often receive other people’s discrimination.

他的(tāde=his)笑话(xiào​huà=joke)不但(bù​dàn=not only)没人(méirén=no one)喜欢(xǐ​huan=like)而且(ér​qiě​=but also)常常(cháng​cháng​=often)受到(shòu​dào=to receive (negative things))别人(bié​ren=other people)的(de)歧视(qí​shì= discrimination)。

Example 2:

Cheating will receive severe penalties.

作弊(zuò​bì=cheat)是(shì=to be)要(yào=will)受到(shòudào=to receive (negative things))严厉(yán​lì= severe)惩罚(chéng​fá= penalty)的(de)。

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