Answer vs Reply
There are some words in English language that have almost similar meaning which is why they are used interchangeably. However, there are subtle differences in the usage of these words as they are used in different contexts. Answer and reply are two such words that confuse many as both fit in when someone poses a question and the other person has to answer/reply. This article, by citing examples will make it clear as to how to use these two words in different contexts.
The teacher asked, “What is the answer of 2+2”?
Roy answered, “4”.
Roy replied, “4”.
It is clear that both answer and reply can be used in formal situations where a question has been asked.
If a person A asks another person B the way to the railway station and B says that he is sorry as he does not know, B’s response is actually a reply and not an answer. This is because A is not getting a solution or an answer to his query; he is merely getting a response or a reply. Thus answer has a broader meaning, it could mean a solution to a problem which a reply may or may not be.
You can answer a question, but you can reply to a statement that does not beg an answer. An answer arises out of a question whereas a reply does not need to.
Have you ever wondered why you answer to a telephone call and not reply, and answer to nature’s call instead of replying to them? Well, it has more to do with the evolved traditions rather than any grammatical rule.
A reply is generally a reaction, a response to something in speech or in writing. A machine for example cannot give you a reply; it can only give you a response. An answer seems to be a solution to a question or a problem.
Answer vs Reply
• Reply and answer are both synonymous though both are used in different contexts
• An answer is a reaction to a question in writing or speech that proposes a solution
• A reply can be in response to a question or it can merely be a response to a statement.