12

What's the right usage: an answer to my question or on my question?

19

"To" is right; "on" would be intelligible, but not the usual way to say it: it would mean "an answer on the subject of my question", which is needlessly long and less clear, except perhaps in unusual contexts. You would use "on" in sentences where you could use "about" with the same meaning: "I read his answer on food processing, and it was rather interesting". "Food processing" is the general subject of the answer, and so probably of the question as well – it is not the question itself.

4
  • Is One of the principles was to reward the dog every time he answered to his name. correct? Jan 29 '17 at 20:07
  • @KedarMhaswade: Yes, why? What were you uncertain about? Jan 30 '17 at 1:33
  • Thanks @Cerberus! I thought ... answered his name. was correct (for I thought this was similar to Why don't you answer your phone?) Jan 30 '17 at 17:43
  • @KedarMhaswade: You can answer the source of the external utterance (another person, a phone), but you answer to whatever the external utterance is (a word or words used in the utterance, or the form or format of the utterance): I answered her, I answered the phone, I answered to his call, I answered to my name. The reason is that answering an utterance—without to —indicates that you are the source of the utterance: I answered my name = I said my name (although this construction is probably rare except with a that... clause). Jan 30 '17 at 17:54

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