In the context of email sending, in order to acknowledge an email which is better?



Also, if you have some rules on when to use either, it would be much appreciated!

  • 5
    By the way, writing ありがとう is normally written in Hiragana. I've seen a document which actually makes it a norm but cannot find now. In the real life Hiragana way is used by majority, however there are some people who use Kanji way too.
    – Rilakkuma
    Aug 14, 2014 at 0:57
  • Good to know, I just made it a habit to press space after writing anything on my keyboard.
    – Aki
    Aug 14, 2014 at 1:30
  • 4
    In general, you should only convert something to kanji if you know that they're the right kanji and that it's appropriate to use them.
    – user1478
    Aug 14, 2014 at 10:46

3 Answers 3


It all depends on the content of your most recent correspondence.

If the other person has answered an important question that you had asked previously, you can use 「(ご)[回答]{かいとう}ありがとうございます。」 as 「回答」 means "an answer to a question".

I used the word "important" because something like "How are you?" is not one of the questions I am talking about here.

The honorific 「ご」 would be a nice touch most of the time, but it would be optional if you were way "above" the other person.

If no Q&A has been performed recently, you cannot use the word 「回答」 like above. You can say, instead, 「お[返事]{へんじ}ありがとうございます。」 as 「返事」 only means "reply".

That honorific 「お」 is used virtually 100% of the time in this set phrase regardless of your relationship with the other person.

  • 2
    If you use 「返事」, does that imply the other person did not answer an important question? (Or in other words: are you expected to use 「回答」 when the other person answers an important question?) Aug 14, 2014 at 2:58
  • 4
    @DariusJahandarie In sentences like「質問のメールに返事がきた」, 返事 itself does not imply whether he answered it properly or not. He responded, and his reply might or might not be a wonderful 回答.
    – naruto
    Aug 14, 2014 at 3:28
  • If people say "hi" to you, then you say "hi" back - is that considered 返事? Aug 14, 2014 at 10:17

Based on own knowledge and some research:

  • 返事 is an answer when there is a conversation about a particular topic. Basically it is used when addressing an oral conversation but not exclusively.
  • 返信 when there was question sentence and answer sentence is provided.
  • 回答 is basically an answer as a matter. For example - answer to a claim (as a thing, not its contents).
  • So if I understand correctly, I would usually use 回答 for emails?
    – Aki
    Aug 14, 2014 at 0:50
  • 1
    I'd say 返事 since you are discussing some topic (even if you are not, emails are normally in the form of dialog and therefore there are answers).
    – Rilakkuma
    Aug 14, 2014 at 0:53

返事 = a reply 回答 = an answer

返る = to come back 答える = to answer

If you want to thank someone for answering your question, use 「回答」.

If you want to thank someone for replying to your communication, use 「返事」.

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