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I am trying to understand the appropriate way to say "reply" or "respond." Could you please help me disambiguate the above listed ways of saying "to reply," and any other that are commonly used? I assume they cannot be used interchangeably?

The examples that come to mind for every day usage are the following, but please do not necessarily restrict your answer to these examples:

"I'm so sorry I took so long to respond to your message!"

"He was not happy with my reply"

"‘Of course!' the man replied!"

"I waited for a long time, but still no response"

  • question answered by(online)dictionaries (among English equivalents could include "answer, feedback",回答 functions both as noun as well as verb,(there also is the noun 答案),回复 mainly functions as noun,also means reversion/restoration and can be used in the latter sense as verb,e。g。回复原状、答复 noun (formal reply),also functions as verb,e。g。答复读者提问,回应 is a noun – user6065 Oct 11 '14 at 20:28
  • 回应 also is a verb, cf. Wikipedia on 保钓运动: ...是由香港、台湾民众和海外华人为了回应钓鱼岛及其附属岛屿主权问题而发起的一系列民间运动... – user6065 Oct 13 '14 at 5:59
  • All the four word can be noun and verb. 回答: answer, 回复: reply, 回应: reply, response, 答复 is sometimes interchangeable with 回答, 回复 or 回应. – 賈可 Jacky Jun 11 '18 at 2:27
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回答often used when somebody answer your question, usually face to face. 回复often used when they reply you via text or phone. 回应is used when you done something, others do another thing in respond. 答复is used when you ask question or have some petition to the government or other big agency, you will get a respond from them.

In your example,

"I'm so sorry I took so long to respond to your message!"

should use 回复

"‘Of course!' the man replied!"

should use 回答

"I waited for a long time, but still no response"

should use 答复

as for

"He was not happy with my reply"

it will mainly rely on the context you are in,

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