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I have to mail-back someone and I wonder if I should rather say "Thanks for your quick answer" or "Thanks for your quick response".

Can you tell me what are the differences between answer and response? Which one is the right for me and when am I supposed to use the other one?

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    I think it will depend upon whether that response you got solves/answers the problem or question you had. Every answer is a response but not every response is an answer. – Mohit Jul 31 '13 at 7:15
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Anytime a person returns communication it can be called a response or a reply, while an answer is a form of response which is a solution to a problem or question. So response and reply are generic and can be used in any situation, while answer is more specific in its usage.

So if you asked a question or asked for a solution to a problem, and the person gave it to you, then you can say "Thanks for your quick answer". If it was not in one of these categories, then use response or reply since these are both generic.

And if you are still in doubt, remember that because response is generic you can use it in any situation.

  • An unsolicited answer is not a response. Though it's hard to imagine thanking someone for something unsolicited. – David Schwartz Jul 31 '13 at 10:27
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    It's not hard to imagine for me. – snailboat Jul 31 '13 at 13:41
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    As an example of the difference, if I ask "Where's the left-handed brobdingnag?", then "it's in the bottom drawer" is an answer, while "Find it yourself!" is a response. – Hellion Jul 31 '13 at 14:16
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    @DavidSchwartz I'm sorry but I fail to see how a question/problem could be made known without soliciting an answer. Can you give an example of an "unsolicited" answer? Maybe it's just me, but (with the obvious exception of rhetorical questions) the mere existence of a question or problem seems to imply that an answer is desired. Maybe I just need sleep, but an unsolicited answer just doesn't make sense to me right now. – Walter Jul 31 '13 at 15:25
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    @DavidSchwartz "Four" is the answer to an infinite number of math equations... But it's not the answer to anything if no question was asked. If I didn't ask you "What is two plus two" and you simply sent me an email saying "Four" my response would be "Sorry, what?" not "Thanks for the answer." I don't see the distinction you're making here. Walter, +1! – WendiKidd Jul 31 '13 at 15:43
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A "response" doesn't always have to be to a question. It could also be to a direct statement.

In such an instance you could agree with an expressed opinion or show that you differ.

An answer is a response to a question.

But based on context, it may be better to thank the individual for the act of responding quickly and then you can move on to discuss elements of the answer given.

Does it suffice? Do need more clarity around certain things? etc.

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In a letter, it would be better to use , "Thank you for your response." However in most situations they are synonyms. However in the US we use answer more than response. All of his answers were incorrect on the test. Please answer me when I ask you a question.

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A "response" is in my book more referring to the act of responding while an "answer" refers more to the content of a response to a question. So when being thankful, I'd lean towards thanking for the speed of a response and the helpfulness of an answer.

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A response seems to be an acknowledgement of a question. For example, a woman may give a response to the question "what is your name?" by sneering at the person asking the question. The sneer does not answer the question but it acknowledges its existence. It is a response.

However, an answer addresses the "concerns" raised by a question. The same example above will only be answered by the giving the name to the person who asked.

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