"Quick reply": does it mean responding in a timely manner or something like 'your answer was super fast you could've put more thought into it'?

Because if you say "thanks for the quick reply" I think it's the first but if you write "here's a quick reply" I think it's something you've put together in a rush, maybe because you're about to go out and you'll elaborate later.

  • Thanks for your "quick question"! I won't bother, but maybe you or someone else will edit your "put togher in a rush". As regards what "quick reply" means, you must be aware that ""Thanks for the quick reply"" is exceptionally common. It means what people want it to mean, and it's unlikely many of them intend "thanks" there to be an ironic acknowledgement that they've been fobbed off with a casual and ill-thought-out response. In short - I think this question is just a peeve, which I'm voting to close as Not Constructive. – FumbleFingers Jul 9 '12 at 21:10

I look at "thanks for the quick reply" without context and it does seem as though it could have sarcastic intent to me. However, I think this could be corrected by simply changing the informality of the "thanks" for a more formal "thank you"... although if you are still uncomfortable you might use the words "speedy" or "prompt".

I'm sorry, but I think that this is largely a matter of context which could hold an almost infinite amount of sway over the final meaning of the phrase.

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  • So true! Depending on the context, it could be an earnest expression of thanks, i.e.: "Thank you for responding so quickly." Or, it could be laced with sarcasm: "Thanks for (ahem) putting so much thought into that answer." – J.R. Jul 9 '12 at 21:10

"Quick reply" is not a special phrase. It is simply a "quick" reply. "Quick" here means:

Quick: immediate or prompt

So, it simply means a reply which was quick (prompt/immediate). Whether you appreciate someone's quick reply or not, would depend on the context of the argument. In "thanks for the quick reply", you usually thank someone for responding quickly. But it could also be used sarcastically (as I said, all depends on the context).

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It always means the first ("timely"); it may also mean the second ("not necessarily well thought out").

If you give a reply quickly, that may mean that you have not devoted adequate time to formulate a complete answer. But the key word here is "may". It depends on context and phrasing, and sometimes a bit of insight on the part of the reader. On the obvious side, if you ask someone for his phone number and he replies in twenty minutes, that is likely "quick" purely in the sense of "timely". But if you ask someone to write a complete history of the world from creation to today, and he sends a reply in twenty minutes, he either copied it from someone else or just threw together the first thing that came to his head.

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