"You don't have to remind me of that every time, son. This isn't our first mark, and it won't be our last," Dr. Evans replies. Rhea understands what this is now. It's how Dr. Evans imagines it will be once he has the kids under his control. Even so, only in his dreams would he ever be able to call Colton "son" without getting hit. Colton replies with a terse nod, showing that he doesn't desire to return the feeling.

I would like to substitute the phrase "return the feeling" for another word, but I don't know of one that would fit. At first, I considered using the word reciprocate, but it didn't seem correct in context.

Which word could be used here?

  • 13
    I would use "reciprocate".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 22:06
  • 1
    Or “showing that the feeling is not mutual.”
    – Jim
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 22:23
  • 1
    Colton replies with a terse nod, showing that he doesn't desire to return the sentiment
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Jun 19, 2016 at 2:52
  • 1
    Requite- to return a feeling of affection I was very happy that my love was requited
    – Thor
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 19:14

2 Answers 2


As per highly up voted comment of Hot Licks

reciprocate VERB Feel (affection or love) for someone in the same way that they feel it for oneself - ODO

  • 2
    A good example of ethical answering in ELU. When the answer is already posted as a comment and you want to convert that comment to answer, just post the answer and mark it 'Community Wiki'. Nice work, Helmar :)
    – BiscuitBoy
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 12:43

reciprocate works fine, but this is a perfect case of show don't tell. Don't tell them he doesn't return the feelings, let people work that out from what your character does! In this case ending after 'terse nod' probably works. People are smart enough to work out that a tiny non-committal response is someone not returning the feelings.

  • 1
    Welcome to EL&U. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with with the site and answers vs. comments. Your response is logical and your enthusiasm palpable. What research can you add to this?
    – livresque
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 1:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.