11 Other Ways to Say "Back and Forth" (2023)

It’s possible to have back-and-forth communication with someone. This allows two parties to discuss matters before deciding anything. It would help to know of another word for “back and forth” that works professionally. This article will explore some good email and formal synonyms.

Other ways to say “back and forth” are “dialogue,” “discussion,” and “correspondence.” These are great one-word variations that allow you to show a discussion in a formal setting. They allow two (or more) parties to go back and forth on a decision before concluding anything.

11 Other Ways to Say "Back and Forth" (1)

1. Dialogue

“Dialogue” is a formal way to show that two (or more) people are discussing something before ultimately deciding what they want to do. It’s most common when the parties disagree but are trying to compromise.

It’s a great choice in formal situations when two parties must come to terms with something. It allows them to explore their options and decide on something that works best for both parties rather than favouring one over the other.

The definition of “dialogue,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a serious exchange of opinion, esp. among people or groups that disagree.”

  • Dear Sam,
  • I believe we need to open a dialogue about this. We need to ensure that we’re on the same page as the others.
  • Kind Regards,
  • Rudy
  • Dear Michael,
  • Can we start a dialogue to discuss the matters further? I believe you misunderstand some of the issues.
  • Thank you,
  • Jon

2. Discussion

“Discussion” is another great alternative. This time, it doesn’t always refer to a disagreement. “Discussion” works well to show that two or more parties are trying to discuss matters to determine their next steps.

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It helps people to keep up a back-and-forth conversation before determining what they need to do. It’s a great choice for formal situations, but you might also find “discussion” popping up in informal situations when it makes sense for the context.

The definition of “discussion,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “the activity in which people talk about something and tell each other their ideas or opinions.”

  • Dear Abbie,
  • Let’s have a discussion when you’re back in the office. We need to sit down and talk through this stuff in person.
  • Kind Regards,
  • Richard
  • Dear Alicia,
  • The email discussion must continue at once. We need to ensure we have all the plans ironed out before we try to advance.
  • Thank you,
  • Julietta

3. Correspondence

“Correspondence” is great for formal situations. It’s commonly used to refer to the emails sent between two parties before deciding anything. This is a great way of showing that people are communicating with each other before determining an outcome.

“Correspondence” is only a formal phrase. You should not use it informally because most people think it sounds far too pretentious.

The definition of “correspondence,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “the action of writing, receiving, and reading letters, especially between two people.”

  • Dear Billy,
  • The correspondence is still continuing. I’m not sure when things will change or when we’ll know more about them.
  • Kind Regards,
  • Alex
  • Dear Christopher,
  • Would you like to hear more from the correspondence? Do you have any information that might help me figure bits out?
  • Thank you,
  • Steven

4. Conversation

“Conversation” is great for both formal and informal situations. You should use it to talk to someone and thoughts, feelings, or ideas that you need to express. You can have a conversation with someone before coming to a decision of some kind.

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The definition of “conversation,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “(a) talk between two or more people in which thoughts, feelings, and ideas are expressed, questions are asked and answered, or news and information are exchanged.”

  • Dear Martin,
  • This conversation has gone on for too long. I feel like you’re never going to make any changes with this attitude.
  • Kind Regards,
  • Paulson
  • Dear Richelle,
  • I would like to have a conversation with you in private about this. I feel like we need to clear up a few issues.
  • Thank you,
  • Sarah

5. Talk

“Talk” is a simpler way to refer to a conversation between two people. It works formally, but it’s most commonly seen in spoken English when encouraging someone to discuss matters further with another party.

“Talk” is a simpler way to say “conversation.” It’s a great choice if you’re not trying to sound over the top with your vocabulary.

The definition of “talk,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a conversation between two people, often about a particular subject.”

  • Let’s talk as soon as you’re out of the office. It’s good for us to lay our feelings on the table before we progress.
  • You need to talk with him. Without that talk, it will be difficult to decide what works for you.

6. Communication

“Communication” is a formal synonym showing that you are sending messages to another person, and they’re responding. This is a good choice when you have an open dialogue with someone to try and discuss matters.

The definition of “communication,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “the process by which messages or information is sent from one place or person to another, or the message itself.”


  • It’s time to open your communication and find out what he wants. I’m afraid you’ve got to have a bit of a back-and-forth with him.
  • You need your communication to go well. If it doesn’t, you’re liable to lose a lot of the money you invested into this project.

7. Interchange

“Interchange” is a fancy way of saying “exchange.” It means that information and ideas are shared between two people. You can use it formally or informally, though most people prefer the simpler “exchange” variation of this word for informal situations.

The definition of “interchange,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “an exchange, especially of ideas or information, between different people or groups.”

  • What did you learn from the interchange? Tell me you learned something that will help you change this project into a success.
  • The interchange didn’t go according to plan. Some things needed to be fixed, but nobody could help us.

8. Exchange

“Exchange” means that you are discussing something with someone and sharing ideas before deciding anything. It’s great to show back-and-forth conversations in formal situations.

The definition of “exchange,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “the act of giving something to someone and them giving you something else.”

  • We need to have an exchange before we can continue with this. It would help if we were all thinking along the same line.
  • This exchange won’t get us anywhere. We need to find a more suitable way to get stuff like this done in the future.

9. Confab

“Confab” is an informal alternative you can use. It shows that you have an informal debate or discussion with someone. It will have no formal impact (so it’s best not to use this in a workplace).

The definition of “confab,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “an informal discussion, usually about one particular subject.”

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  • I’m going to have a confab with her later today. She can’t keep getting away with this. It’s time that someone talked her down.
  • What are you doing? That confab isn’t going to change anything. She’s already decided that she doesn’t want to help us out.

10. Banter

“Banter” is a jokey way to discuss with someone, but it still relates to “back and forth.” You can use it when you aren’t being serious, but you’re still opening a dialogue between two people (mainly to mock each other).

The definition of “banter,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “conversation that is funny and not serious.”

  • You decided to have some banter with him, but it blew up in your face. I hate to say I told you so, but I absolutely told you so.
  • This is great banter, but it’s a bit too unprofessional for the office. You need to know your audience before doing this.

11. Chat

“Chat” is an informal word you can use here. It shows that you’re conversing with someone informally or in a friendly manner. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for something less formal or pretentious.

The definition of “chat,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “to talk to someone in a friendly informal way.”

  • We’ll have a chat to find out what she wants to tell me. I think it’s good for us to talk openly about things like this.
  • You should have a chat with him later. I think it’ll do you some good to learn from him and accept some of the changes.

Is It Correct to Say “Back and Forth”?

“Back and forth” is correct when referring to emails or discussions between two people. You can use it when emails are sent and received at similar rates, allowing for an open discussion.

When you use it, it’s best to include hyphens between the words when acting as an adjective. This is made clear when a noun comes directly after it. For example:

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  • Back-and-forth conversation
  • Back-and-forth emails

If you use it when the noun comes before, you do not need to hyphenate it. For example:

  • The emails have been sent back and forth.

Related posts:

  1. 10 Words For “Back-and-Forth Communication”
  2. Discussion On vs. Discussion About vs. Discussion Of – Difference Revealed
  3. What Is the Abbreviation for Exchange?
  4. Is “Dear All” Appropriate In A Work Email? (8 Better Alternatives)


What can I use instead of back and forth? ›

synonyms for back and forth
  • alternating.
  • backwards and forwards.
  • from pillar to post.
  • from side to side.
  • in and out.
  • seesaw.
  • to and fro.
  • up and down.

What are different ways to say reply? ›

Some common synonyms of reply are answer, rejoinder, response, and retort.

What is back and forth conversation called? ›

"Dialogue" or "discussion" seems best for a "back and forth" formal conversation about a narrow business topic. This can be opposed to "banter" which would be "back and forth" of broad topic and very non-formal.

What is the idiom of back and forth? ›

A back-and-forth is a discussion where two or more people are failing to reach a compromise or a solution, as in I had a very long back-and-forth with my girlfriend about what to do with my dog. A back-and-forth is a much less productive version of a give-and-take, where people more easily reach a compromise.

What is something that goes both ways? ›

reciprocal Add to list Share. Reciprocal describes something that's the same on both sides.

What is the plural of back and forth? ›

back and forth (countable and uncountable, plural back and forths)

What is the word for short reply? ›

Curt often just means "terse." In fact it comes from the Latin word curtus, which means “cut short, abridged.” But sometimes it has the added sense of being rudely short, like when you're irritated that someone's asking a foolish question so you give a brusque, curt response.

How do you say positive reply? ›

Some ways you can word your thank you are:
  1. Thank you for noticing, it really makes me happy to hear!
  2. Thanks for noticing, I put a lot of time and effort into that project.
  3. Thanks for taking the time to let me know you feel this way!
  4. Thank you for the positive feedback! It means a lot to know you've noticed me.
7 Oct 2021

What are one word replies called? ›

monoword. Being of few words, being quite cold in the reply.

What is a two sided conversation called? ›

Dialogue is a cooperative, two-way conversation. The goal is for participants to exchange information and build relationships with one another.

What is a dual conversation? ›

Dual dialogue allows you to portray two characters speaking at once.

What is a convo between two people called? ›

Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American English) is a written or spoken conversational exchange between two or more people, and a literary and theatrical form that depicts such an exchange.

Is back and forth an adverb? ›

back and forth (adverb)

What is it called when two things are completely different? ›

In formal contexts, the word antithetical can be used of two things that are so different from each other that they oppose one another.

What is it called when something means two things at once? ›

A double entendre is a subtle literary device that uses one statement to convey two very different meanings. Taken literally, a double entendre is usually an innocent statement that has no ironic or inappropriate overtones.

What is the meaning of swing both ways? ›

idiom informal. to be sexually attracted to both men and women: I've seen her out with men as well. She swings both ways, you know. Want to learn more?

Is it back and fourth or forth? ›

The words forth and fourth are often confused because they have the same pronunciation but different meanings. But what is the difference? Forth means forward in time, place or degree when used as an adverb. Fourth means the ordinal form of the number four when used as an adjective.

What is difference between to and from and back and forth? ›

As others said, there is no difference in the usage you quoted. Likewise, and also as said by others, to and fro can be used in a variety of contexts where back and forth wouldn't be appropriate. It, in essence, means that the subject is moving from one thing to another.

What is the full meaning of Forth? ›

: onward in time, place, or order : forward.

What a quick reply meaning? ›

Meaning. a prompt or almost immediate reply to a letter or email.

What do fast replies mean? ›

Quick responses generally mean he likes you.

Longer messages, compliments, personal stories, and lots of questions mean he's looking to continue the conversation while shorter messages might mean he's not interested. Also, look at how consistently he responds quickly.

What is short for no response? ›

Shorthand for No Response Necessary, NRN is an acronym used to let the reader know that no response is required for the message being sent. Chat terms.

What makes a response Excellent? ›

Following are the qualities which a good response should possess: Fast. Approachable. Informative.

What is positive response example? ›

Generic positive review response examples

Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us.” “Thank you so much for taking the time to leave us feedback.” “Is there anything we can do to improve?” “We hope to see you again soon!”

What is dry texting? ›

Dry texting is what happens when someone gives you short, non-engaging replies in a texting conversation. It can also be super repetitive and just plain boring, says Claudia Cox, a relationship coach and founder of Text Weapon.

How do you respond to cold responses? ›

What Should You Do When You Get an Interested Reply to Your Cold Email?
  1. Understand Your Prospect's Intentions.
  2. Reply as Quickly as Possible.
  3. Make It All About Them.
  4. Keep it Personal.
  5. Don't Overwhelm them with Too Much Information.
  6. Answer All Their Questions.
  7. Never Push Them to Buy.
  8. Don't Expect the Email to Sell for You.

What is small talk in slang? ›

You might call small talk "chitchat." It's the polite back-and-forth that occurs between people who don't know each other well and don't want to discuss anything controversial or personal.

What are the 3 levels of conversation? ›

Practices That Can Take You to the Relational Level

So, those are what I call the 3 Levels of Conversation — Informational, Personal/Emotional, and Relational.

What is a backhanded conversation? ›

Definition of backhanded

1 : indirect, devious especially : sarcastic a backhanded compliment.

What is a 2 way open conversation? ›

Two-way communication is the process of sharing information back and forth between two parties. In other words, it's a conversation where both the sender and receiver invite and offer feedback.

How do you write people talking over each other? ›

1. Use Quotation Marks to Indicate Spoken Word. Whenever someone is speaking, their words should be enclosed in double quotation marks. Example: “Let's go to the beach.”

How is a two-way conversation done? ›

Two-way communication is when someone sends a message to another person and the person receiving the message sends back a response. Two-way communication can take place face-to-face or remotely.

What is a one sided convo? ›

adjective. If you say that an activity or relationship is one-sided, you think that one of the people or groups involved does much more than the other or is much stronger than the other.

What is meant by diatribe? ›

: a bitter and abusive speech or piece of writing. : ironic or satirical criticism.

What do you call a person who likes conversation? ›

conversationalist Add to list Share. A conversationalist is someone who likes to chat, and is good at it. Conversationalists love to have — surprise! — conversations.

How do you use back and forth in a sentence? ›

Example Sentences

Adverb The chair rocked back and forth. The children were shuttled back and forth between school and home.

What is the meaning of to and fro motion? ›

back-and-forth: to-and-fro motion. noun, plural to-and-fros. a continuous or regular movement backward and forward; an alternating movement, flux, flow, etc.: the to-and-fro of the surf.

What is the meaning of kith and kin? ›

/ˌkɪθ ən ˈkɪn/ people you are connected with, especially by family relationships. Family: relations in general.

What is a to and fro conversation? ›

to and fro. Back and forth, as in He was like a caged animal, pacing to and fro. Strictly speaking, to means “toward” and fro “away from,” but this idiom is used more vaguely in the sense of “moving alternately in different directions.” [

What are the 4 stages of conversation? ›

There are four different stages of conversations - Diverging, converging, deciding and convincing.

What is back and forth interaction? ›

In back-and-forth interactions, the caregiver times her responses to a child's behavior. For example, if a child babbles at a toy, her caregiver could respond by providing a label for the toy. That contingent response teaches the child language and actually helps wire the child's brain.

How do you end a conversation with autism? ›

If you want to end the conversation, say something like, 'Well I'd better be going now' before saying 'Goodbye'. This is more polite than just saying 'Goodbye' and walking away.

What is a reciprocal conversation? ›

This means that words are exchanged between two or more people. When people play a game of catch, they toss a ball back and forth to each other several times. Having a reciprocal conversation is a lot like playing a game of catch.

What are the 6 types of oral communication? ›

The entire gamut of the various types of communication channels and expressions we enjoy is outlined in this chart. As you can see, there are at least 6 distinct types of communication: non-verbal, verbal-oral-face-to-face, verbal-oral-distance, verbal-written, formal and informal types of communication.

What are the 7 strategies for effective conversation dialogue? ›

Effective communication strategies: 7 ways to improve
  • Keep it real. When delivering your message, be truthful and as complete as possible. ...
  • Be timely. Don't wait until you have all the information to deliver a message. ...
  • Focus on consistency. ...
  • Tailor your message. ...
  • Reinforce it. ...
  • Encourage feedback. ...
  • Empower your managers.

What are the 5 principles of conversation? ›

Five Principles of Conversation
  • Each person is both the speaker and listener, sender and receiver.
  • Monologue is the opposite side.
  • Demonstrate respect for the other person.
  • Avoid negative criticism and negative judgement.
  • Keep the channels open.
  • Acknowledge the presence and importance of the other person.


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