Response vs Respond? What is the difference?

In English, there are various noun-verb pairs that mean essentially the same thing, but they operate very differently within a sentence. “Respond” and “response” are two such pairs that can cause confusion for those beginning to get into the depths of English sentence structure.

They sound the same and they’re almost spelled the same. While it’s true they both refer to “reply” or “answer,” they appear in different parts of a sentence. A “response” is a noun; it’s an object of possession by a person as the product of action. To “respond” is a verb; it’s an activity a person undertakes as a result of prompting to do so.


As a noun, the word “response” is an object that comes under the ownership of the subject in question. This usually comes about by outside stimuli and is often the result of what someone did as a reaction to a cause. Or, you can think of it as how a person expressed their reply. This can be verbal or physical.

Consider the following example sentences:

His response was less than friendly. (denotes verbal ownership)

When asked for a response, mother ignored us. (shows an action of prompting)

They killed the mosquitoes in response to the massive swarm invading the cabin. (shows a physical answer to external stimuli)


When you want to use “respond” in a sentence, this is the verb or activity, a person does to answer someone or something because of a demand or request to do so. This is usually a reply to a question, but it can also be a reaction to a cause. For instance:

He responded in a very unfriendly manner. (past tense, direct reply)

We will respond in protest to the mandates. (as a reaction to a cause)

They respond to all questions with care and consideration. (as a reply to an inquiry)

Understanding the Difference between Respond and Response

The basic difference, and the most important, is that “respond” is a verb while “response” is a noun. Try your hand at the sentence below to see if you can understand the nuances:

When you responded to the response left on the voicemail, it was a response delivered in a way you’ll never respond again.

Mnemonic Device

The best way to remember the difference between respond and response is by applying it to memory. Keep in mind that both words have a similar spelling, but they change at the end.

responD (D as in DO = verb)

responSE (SE or Self Expression = noun)

The D in respond correlates to DO, which is the essence of a verb. The SE in response is the result of Self Expression, or a noun.


Once you can get past the confusion, knowing the differences between the words “response” and “respond” isn’t terribly difficult. Respond is an action whereas response is an object possessed by a living thing. If you can keep these separate, it will be smooth sailing.