mewso Moderator

I regularly get emails from people saying "thanks for your email I will revert to you in a few days" or some such. This is the completely wrong use of the word revert is it not? I have to ask because it's driving me mad and I have resisted the temptation several times to email them back asking when they were me before now and why they plan to change back into me again.


its an accepted and valid usage afaik. Don't like it myself though.

mewso Moderator

I can't find it defined as an acceptable usage though. I strongly suspect this is another misuse that was adopted by people who didn't know better and the power of emails in particular has allowed it to become far too common. Most people are probably using it to appear more formal than saying "I'll get back to you" and in my eyes at least just appear stupid as a result.


I've seen defintions that 'revert' means 'get back to' or to 'return to a subject'

I don't think you'll find defined acceptable usages of most words.

I first came across it via dealings with american companies about 10 years ago and looked it up
at the time as it doesn't seem right. I was happy enough then that it was. I believe it has legal
origins in the US, leading to popular take up.

encarta specifically has this usage if that means anything

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mewso Moderator

Well encarta mentions returning to a previous topic of a conversation not to respond or get back to a person which is the context it is being used most often. Still technically wrong if you ask me. "revert to you tomorrow" - I am not the topic we will return to discussing when they reply the next day.

MathsManiac Moderator

I agree that the Encarta article does not support the usage described. It's also my view that it is not a correct usage, and I haven't seen any authoritative source that supports it.

However, given how common it's becoming, I suspect that it won't be long before it's regarded as acceptable.

(Frankly, it's a bit bizarre. If you take it at face value, it's something like: I used to be you but I'm not any more; I plan to go back to being you again in a few days!)

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