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Roger That vs. Copy That: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 11, 2023
"Roger that" is a radio communication term for understanding a message, while "copy that" indicates both understanding and an intention to act on the message.

Key Differences

"Roger that" originates from military radio communication, signifying receipt and understanding of a message. While, "copy that" is also used in radio communications, indicating not only understanding but also acknowledgment and readiness to act.
"Roger that" implies that the message is received and understood, without necessarily implying immediate action. Whereas, "copy that" suggests a step further, indicating that the receiver will act upon the information received.
"Roger that" is commonly used in various contexts where quick acknowledgment is required. In contrast, "copy that" is often used in situations needing confirmation that the message will be followed by specific actions.
"Roger that" is a universally recognized phrase, used widely beyond military contexts. "Copy that" is more specific and is used frequently in military, aviation, and emergency services to confirm understanding and intent to act.
"Roger that" conveys a straightforward acknowledgment. On the other hand, "copy that" carries a connotation of preparedness and responsibility for the following steps or actions.

Comparison Chart


Acknowledgment and understanding
Understanding and readiness to act


Military radio communication
Radio communication in various fields

Implication of Action

No implied action
Implies intention to act

Contextual Use

Broad, including casual settings
More formal and action-oriented


Simple acknowledgment
Preparedness and responsibility

Roger That and Copy That Definitions

Roger That

It indicates understanding of the information received.
Remember to bring the files. Roger that.

Copy That

Used for formal acknowledgment and compliance.
Report back by 0600 hours. Copy that, will report as instructed.

Roger That

Used in radio communication for clarity.
Switch to channel three. Roger that, switching now.

Copy That

Common in structured communication fields.
Respond to the emergency call. Copy that, en route.

Roger That

Used to confirm receipt of a message.
Avoid the closed roads. Roger that, thanks for the update.

Copy That

Carries a sense of responsibility for action.
Ensure the safety of guests. Copy that, enhancing security measures.

Roger That

Has a military origin but is used broadly.
Complete the task by evening. Roger that, sir.

Copy That

"Copy that" means understanding and readiness to act.
Start the procedure now. Copy that, starting immediately.

Roger That

"Roger that" means acknowledgment of a message.
The meeting is at 10 AM. Roger that, I'll be there.

Copy That

Indicates preparation to follow instructions.
Deliver the package to the office. Copy that, on my way.


Why do people say "Roger" instead of "received"?

"Roger" was the phonetic alphabet term for the letter 'R', which originally stood for "received."

What does "Roger that" mean?

It's a radio communication term meaning "I have received and understood the message."

Is "Roger that" a complete sentence?

Yes, it's a complete response in radio communication.

Can "Roger that" be used in everyday conversation?

Yes, but it's more common in specific contexts like military or radio communication.

Can "Roger that" be used in text messages?

Yes, but it's more of a playful or informal usage.

Can "Roger that" indicate agreement?

Yes, it can imply agreement as well as acknowledgment.

What does "Copy that" mean?

It means "I have heard and understood the message" in radio communication.

Is "Roger that" formal or informal?

It's informal and commonly used in military or aviation contexts.

Is "Roger that" used internationally?

Yes, it's understood in English-speaking international aviation and military contexts.

Does "Copy that" imply agreement?

Not necessarily, it primarily indicates understanding or acknowledgment.

Where did "Copy that" come from?

It originates from radio communication, indicating a message has been received and understood.

Where did "Roger that" originate?

It originated in military radio communication during World War II.

Is "Roger that" still used in aviation?

Yes, it's a staple in aviation and military radio communication.

Can "Copy that" be used in everyday language?

Yes, but like "Roger that," it's more common in specific contexts.

How is "Copy that" different from "Roger that"?

"Roger that" is older and was specifically for indicating received messages, while "Copy that" is more about understanding the message.

Can "Copy that" be used in written communication?

Yes, in informal contexts like texting or casual emails.

Is "Copy that" used internationally?

Yes, in English-speaking countries, especially in contexts like aviation and military.

Is "Copy that" a military term?

Yes, it's widely used in military and other radio communication contexts.

Is "Copy that" formal or informal?

It's informal and typically used in specific communication settings.

Can "Copy that" be used in business communication?

It can be, but it's more appropriate in informal or specific operational contexts.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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