'Reply' or 'Reply to' Someone/Something? Which One Is Correct? | Mastering Grammar

(Last Updated: 9 June 2024)

Reply Someone/Something or Reply to Someone/Something: Which One Is Correct?

A common mistake made by English language learners is saying reply someone/something instead of reply to someone/something. While it may seem like a small difference, saying reply someone/something can make your English sound non-native. 

To ensure your English sounds idiomatic, always use the preposition to after the verb reply when followed by the person or message you are responding to:

I have already replied to him.
I have already replied him.

Please reply to me as soon as possible.
Please reply me as soon as possible.

Has she replied to your email yet?
Has she replied your email yet?

He's going to reply to your message shortly.
He's going to reply your message shortly.

Thomas always replies to text messages promptly.
Thomas always replies text messages promptly.

The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary's entry for the verb reply

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Examples from the Media

The proper time to reply to everyone is when the answer can reasonably be expected to be of interest to the group—and when your response respects the context, tone and subject of the original. The Washington Post (2020)

They've replied to you letting you know that it's not a good time to text. Toronto Star (2017)

It's usually considered polite when a friend or colleague replies to your email promptly. Daily Mail (2008)

The Trail Runners Association of Hong Kong (TRAHK) has criticised the government for replying to its open letter to the Health Secretary with a statement that "does not address any of the questions raised". South China Morning Post (2022)

Recommended Further Reading

'Answer to Something' or 'Answer of Something'?
'Respond' or 'Response'?

Real-World Examples of Misuse

You reply to a person, question, message or letter, not reply them.
(Source: St. Paul's Convent School, Primary Section)
(Also by the Same School: 1/2/3/4/5/6)

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