According to 现代汉语词典:

  • 答复



  • 回答



For me both seem to be practically the same. One uses the other in its explanation.

At least for me, it feels that 回答 is a more general word while 答复 is more formal, and usually used when it involves someone superior. But I'm not sure if this is correct.

So I wonder if there is any difference between them, on its usage as verb.

  • users suggest studying the examples supplied by comprehensive dictionaries like bkrs
    – user6065
    Commented May 22, 2018 at 18:38
  • per comment #1: 回答 1) [answer; reply; response] (2) 口头或书面的答复; 对问题、 呼唤、 呼吁或号召的答复; 对意见、 争论或反对意见的答辩; 回信 对正当问题的诚恳回答 (3) 以口头或书面答复 我向你提问时, 请回答我answer; reply; response: 回答问题 answer a question 我考虑成熟后再给你回答。 I'll let you have an answer after mature consideration. 他们必须得到一个要么是要么非的明确回答。 They must have a definite reply, yes or no. answer; reply 请回答我的问题。 Please answer my question. 答案 [answer; solution ; key] 对提出的问题所做的解答 练习的答案 问题的解答。 如:「请给我一个正确的答案。」answer; solution; 练习的答案 key to an exercise 找到问题的答案 find a solution to the problem 那只有一个答案。 There is only one answer to that
    – user6065
    Commented May 22, 2018 at 18:56

2 Answers 2


回答: just to answer;

答复: answer with a reply, usually in the form of writing, like a letter, an email, and etc. It connotes that to answer with some sort of attachment, which suggests the answer is a bit formal in some degree.


The two terms are very similar. The difference is how the terms are constructed: 答复 is more like "to reply" (v) or "a reply" (n); while 回答 is more like "to answer" (v) or "an answer" (n)

答(answer/ reply) 复(reply/return)

答复 = 'answer with a reply' or 'return with an answer' (to someone's question or request)

or simply "reply" /answer


回(return)答 (answer/ reply)

回答 = return with an answer/reply (to someone's question or request)

or simply "answer" / "reply"


回(return) 复 (reply)

回复 = return with an reply (to someone's question or request)

or simply "reply"

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