Is it correct to say "reply something" as in:

— Did you ask him about dinner?

— Yes.

— And what did he reply?

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    So you're essentially asking if "reply" can be used as a transitive verb? – BladorthinTheGrey Sep 26 '16 at 21:02

Using 'reply' transitively is not the most natural for English speakers, it tends to be intransitive (although its transitive form is sometimes used) or as a noun.

Say something in response to something someone has said.
"he was gone before we could reply to his last remark"

a verbal or written answer.
"I received a reply from the managing director"

In your example, I would suggest re-phrasing it to:

What was his reply

This uses the word reply, but as a noun rather than a verb. This sounds more idiomatic and, while your example might be understood, this sounds better.

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  • 2
    I disagree that transitive reply is not common. It is very common. The most common type of object is a completive clause (a that clause: “He replied that…”). I don't find “What did he reply?” in any way unusual or unidiomatic. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 26 '16 at 22:02
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    This does not address the complexities involved. "What did he reply?" seems to be used often enough to be considered grammatical, and parallels the plainly acceptable "What did she say?" The only answer one would reasonably expect (other than a facetious "A prayer" to the second example) is a statement in direct or reported speech. Classing direct speech as a direct object is far from universally accepted, and a that-clause even less so. The 'What did he say / reply?' idiom seems extragrammatical. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 26 '16 at 22:02

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