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Language tip of the week: answer

Learn English with Macmillan DictionaryIn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this new series of language tips to accompany the Real Vocabulary theme we look at how you can expand your vocabulary in English by using different words and expressions instead of core vocabulary items.

This week’s tip looks at words and phrases you can use instead of answer.



reply to answer someone:
I know’ he replied. ♦ They got up and walked out before I had a chance to reply. ♦ When asked where she was going, she replied that it was none of their business. ♦ I asked him how he was and he replied with a shrug.
respond: to answer something someone says, especially when they have challenged or criticized you:
‘I’m telling you it’s not true,’ Martinez responded. ♦ How do you respond to the suggestion that this is all the government’s fault?
make a response or give a response:
I called out to him but he made no response. ♦ Being an astute politician, she gave a careful response that completely failed to answer the question.
Note: Reply and respond mean more or less the same as answer, but they are a little more formal and used mainly in written English.
retort to answer someone immediately in an angry or humorous way:
‘Mind your own business,’ she retorted. ♦ Democrats retorted that the plan leaves millions of poor Americans out in the cold.
answer someone back to reply rudely to someone who has more authority than you:
Don’t you dare answer me back!
get back to someone to answer someone at a later time:
He said he was busy but promised he would get back to me in the afternoon.
phone back or call back or ring back to phone someone again, or to phone someone who phoned you earlier:
I’ll call you back as soon as I hear any news.

Did you know that Macmillan Dictionary includes a full thesaurus? This page lists more synonyms for the verb ‘answer‘.

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Liz Potter

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