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'Respond' or 'Response'? What Is the Difference? | Mastering Grammar

(Last Updated: 7 June 2024)


Respond vs Response: Understanding the Difference

The words respond and response are related but used differently in sentences. Respond is a verb that means 'to reply to someone/something' or 'to react to something that someone has said/done', while response is a noun that refers to the reply or reaction itself.

Examples of Respond in Use

✅ Please respond to the invitation by the end of the week.

✅ When I asked Wendy about her day, she responded with a smile.

✅ Can you respond to my question, please?

Examples of Response in Use

✅ The teacher asked for a response, but no one said anything.

✅ His response to the surprise party was a mix of laughter and tears.

✅ In response to the increased demand, the factory ramped up production.

Common Mistakes

Mistakes typically occur when people use the verb respond in sentences where the noun response is required:

I am writing in respond to your job advertisement posted in the local newspaper.
✅ I am writing in response to your job advertisement posted in the local newspaper.

The best respond to criticism is often to listen and consider the feedback carefully.
✅ The best response to criticism is often to listen and consider the feedback carefully.


In summary, you respond to someone or something, and what you give is a response.

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Examples from the Media

Denise Campbell, the executive director of social development at the City of Toronto, has spearheaded a pilot project to create teams of crisis workers to respond to individuals in mental distress. Toronto Star (2023)

King Charles is seeking the services of a ghost writer — to help respond to thousands of letters from concerned subjects. Daily Mail (2023)

You can hardly ask someone to take a $200,000 to $500,000 pay cut (or more) and expect too many positive responses. The Age (2022)

Israeli jets struck southern Lebanon and Gaza overnight in response to an unusually heavy rocket barrage from militias in Lebanon. The New York Times (2023)

Practice

Choose the correct word to complete each sentence.

1. She didn't respond/response when we waved at her.

2. His joke received a lukewarm respond/response from the audience.

3. The company's respond/response to the complaint was to offer a full refund.

4. The doctor asked the patient to respond/response to simple commands during the exam.

5. We are still waiting for Tom's respond/response.

6. Did the dog respond/response to the whistle?

7. Sometimes, the best respond/response to a rude comment is to say nothing at all.

8. When it gets cold, the thermostat responds/responses by turning on the heat.

9. His quick respond/response saved the kitten from danger.

10. I am writing in respond/response to your recent article about healthy eating habits.

Answer Key

1. respond    2. response    3. response    4. respond    5. response    6. respond    7. response    8. responds    9. response    10. response

Recommended Further Reading

'Reply' or 'Reply to' Someone/Something?
'Answer to Something' or 'Answer of Something'?

Real-World Examples of Misuse

(Source: S.6 DSE Ultimate Intensive Course, Final Tips (2): Papers 1 – 3 (U2))

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