The word answer can be both a verb and a noun, and, hence, we use them differently when forming sentences.


When we use the verb “to answer”, it is usually followed by an object: who or what an answer is being addressed to. For example:

She answered the call.

He was not answering any of the queries.

They answered me.


Otherwise, to answer is also often followed by a prepositional phrase, to link an indirect object that tells us what the answer is/was.

The people answered with a jolt.

He answered by a ball at the child.


When we use “answer” as a noun, we often connect it to another noun using the preposition “to”. For example:

The answer to a problem.

The answer to a situation.

The answer to their needs.


Some confusion arises because of the phrasal verb “answer to” with the meaning of “take orders from, obey or provide an explanation to”. The phrasal verb “answer to” should always be followed by an object – usually someone/something in a position of authority.

Answer to your boss.

You will answer to the police for this.