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.
“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,
- Dear Michael,
- Can we start a dialogue to discuss the matters further? I believe you misunderstand some of the issues.
- Thank you,
“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.
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,
- 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,
“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,
- 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,
“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.
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,
- 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,
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
- 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.
“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.
“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:
- 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.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.