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24 / 03 / 2004

TO ANSWER TO (BIS): meaning and examples

Good morning again everybody.

This morning I received a question from Maria Rosa about today's expression. Below is her question with my answer.


Hello, I don't understand what the meaning of "to answer to" is. Can you give me some more examples, please?

Good bye!

Maria Rosa


Hello Maria Rosa.

In English we can "answer sombody", which means to "respond to them" (contestar). But if we answer TO somebody (today's expression), it means that we have to explain our actions to a superior. In other words, to the person who is responsable for us ("responder a" or "dar explicaciones").

So who do you answer to in your company? You probably have a boss who watches over what you do, so that's who you answer to. The workers at Microsoft answer to their bosses, and ultimately to Bill Gates. And Bill Gates answers to the shareholders ("accionistas").

I hope these further examples help to clarify this expression.

Best wishes,

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