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Would anyone possibly throw a light on when/where would you use the following terms interchangeably? when not?

reaction

interaction

Any help would be appreciated

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In general English, both are poles apart!

The interaction that happened between them ended up in smoke.

And...

The reaction she gave after listening to that proposal was terrible.

Which way you thought they are interchangeable? The interaction can just happen whereas reaction will be reaction to something. It's a triggered event!

  • In a chemical reaction substances act mutually on each other (interaction). – Lucian Sava Oct 8 '14 at 10:31
  • @LucianSava I know it was coming! :) That's why began my answer with general English... – Maulik V Oct 8 '14 at 10:34
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Coming from a more technical perspective:

Interaction is when someone or something has a continuous 'action' -> 'reaction' circle. Example: Amy says hi to Bob. Bob greets her back. They shake hands. They go have coffee.

That whole thing is an interaction.

Reaction is just one part of that. Bob greeting back is a reaction to Amy saying hi. The handshake is a reaction to the greeting before.

Hence reaction is a smaller thing than reaction, it involves multiple actions and reactions. Remember 'inter' means 'between', whereas 're' just means 'back'.

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