Interested in Language
'Reciprocate' according to the dictionary, means to respond to a gesture or action by making a corresponding one. It seems to apply to abstract things like a favour, kindness, feelings, wishes, compliments, etc.
Can the word be used with physical things such as, to reciprocate to a letter or message?
I know 'reply to' or 'respond to' can be used with a letter or a message.
But my question is, can 'reciprocate' also be used?
Last edited by tedmc; 25-Aug-2014 at 19:11. Reason: typo errors
Some input from the teachers will be much appreciated. Thanks.
No, you can't "reciprocate to" a letter.
So, does that mean reciprocate can only be used for things which are abstract and not for something physical?
I have seen it used for compliments and well wishes which are something like messages, so I thought it may also be used with letters.
After all, the word just means a mutual exchange, doesn't it?
You can't "reciprocate to" anything. It doesn't take an object like that.
"She wrote to me and I reciprocated." That is fine.
But one can reciprocate (to) another's favours, kindness, gestures, wishes, right?
She wrote to me and I reciprocated. I wrote back. Correct?
Last edited by tedmc; 25-Aug-2014 at 19:57.
Try googling "reciprocating engine". That usage is the only one I know of that uses reciprocate in a physical sense (and it doesn't use the verb in any other form).
That said, it would make sense if someone said 'I pulled his hand, but he didn't reciprocate"; it would just be more natural to say 'I pulled his hand, but he didn't pull back".
I wouldn't say I "reciprocated to" anything.
You could say "I reciprocated his greeting," but not "I reciprocated to his greeting."