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「挑発に乗る」 and 「挑発に対応する」 both sound to me like: "To respond to a provocation."

Is this correct? Any important differences?

--- extra question #2 ---

As per the given answer, 「挑発に乗る」 is to respond irrationally. That makes sense because it is a metaphor.

What about negating both phrases?

「挑発に乗らなかった」 means to not respond to provocation (in an *irrational* manner)
「挑発に対応しなかった」 means to no respond to provocation (in a *rational* manner)

Ultimately, could I say something like:

田中さんの挑発に乗らなかったにしても、対応した。

means:

I didn't let Tanaka provoke me into an irrational response. Rather, I countered his provocations in a measured tone.

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  • 田中さんの挑発に乗らなかったにしても、対応した。 sounds really like a direct translation. Better alternatives are 田中さんの挑発に乗らずに、冷静に対応した or 受け流した
    – nodakai
    Apr 9 '16 at 5:06
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In fact, they are quite different.

If you 「挑発に乗る」, you respond to a provocation in the way it was intended for; you lose your head and do things you otherwise wouldn't.

「挑発に対応する」 would mean to deal with a provocation, likely in a calm and sensible manner.

--- Answer to extra question #2 ---

How I see them:

・「挑発に乗らない」= not respond to provocation in an irrational manner (may or may not do what is rational)

・「挑発に対応しない」= not respond to provocation in any way (= flatly ignore it )

Though you could say the following:

田中さんの挑発に乗らなかったにしても、対応した。

I find the phrasing somewhat awkward. If I were to rewrite it, I might go for something like:

田中さんの[挑発に(は)乗らず/挑発に乗ること(は)なく]、冷静に対応した。

--- EDIT ---

One important distinction between the two I failed to mention earlier is that 「挑発に乗る」 is an idiomatic phrase while 「挑発に対応する」 is not.

Theoretically, there is no semantic incongruity in the phrase 「挑発に対応する」. In practical terms, however, it's much less likely to appear as-is (or otherwise) than 「挑発に乗る」, but instead often comes accompanied by a modifier specifying how the responding is done, like 冷静に.

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  • That is a great answer. I feel what you mean. But, I added an extra question about how the meanings change when you negate them. Can you please take a look.
    – konishiki
    Apr 8 '16 at 23:18
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挑発に乗る means you respond to a provocation / challenge of others without discretion, or in the way the aggressor or provoker plotted. In Japanese, we respond to provocation but don't 'deal with' provocation. You can't be willy-nilly against a challenge or aggression directed to you. You should be resolute to the provocation, and your choice is either 挑発に乗る / 挑発に応じる /挑発を受けて立つ / or 挑発に乗らない / 挑発に応じない / 挑発を退ける。

I haven't heard the turn of phrase 挑発に"対応する" so often. It somewhat doesn't sit well with the word 挑発 to me.

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  • It sounds fine to me. for what it's worth Hmm maybe it's somewhat limited to international relations? Though 「レディーガガ、マドンナの挑発に対応」 certainly doesn't grate on my ears.
    – goldbrick
    Apr 9 '16 at 1:13
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    @goldhick if you examine the above search results carefully, you find there are not so many "挑発に対応(する)" as a complete sentence. And y'know, 対応 "deal with" is a very vague word that is applicable to almost anything... The government and opinion leaders like to use the word for not making their opinions clear. But that doesn't make "挑発に対応" a very natural Japanese phrase.
    – nodakai
    Apr 9 '16 at 5:03
  • What I was trying to show was that there is no incompatibility between the two notions 「挑発」 and 「対応(する)」 ; they can be used in connection with each other. If a bureaucrat, or anyone else for that matter, is using the phrase to equivocate, that, it seems to me, just means it has its own distinct (and less frequent) usage, but no less "natural". A more effective rebuttal to 「挑発に対応(する)」 would be about what does make it not natural, rather than what does not make it natural. (Sorry if I come off as stubborn or contentious. I do appreciate your feedback. Thanks.)
    – goldbrick
    Apr 10 '16 at 5:36

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