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Sometimes it helps to check the dictionary for the origin of words.

If we, for instance, check the origin of the verb revert, we find that its Latin origin revertere and its Old French origin revertir mean “turn back” (Oxford Dictionary of English). Thus we don’t have to add back to the word revert.

Do not say:

  • He reverted back to his old ways.
  • When the contract ends, the ownership of the building reverts back to the church.

Instead, use to.

  • He reverted to his old ways.
  • When the contract ends, the ownership of the building reverts to the church.

Another common error is to use revert to mean reply or respond. The word revert means either:

Thus, we do not say:

  • Please revert to me on your preferences.
  • Kindly revert back for any clarification.
  • Please revert to me on the status of the project.
  • We will investigate and revert back as soon as possible.

Instead, we can say:

  • Please let me know of your preferences.
  • Kindly write or call me if you need any clarification.
  • Please update me on the status of the project.
  • We will investigate and get back to you as soon as possible.

Photo credit: Nice photo by Len Radin (This sign was made by Tiger Waterman for the Wizard of Oz set.)

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4 thoughts on “Using “revert” correctly

  1. Hi Ma’am Janet,

    Good day! How are you Ma’am? I hope all is well with you. I am one of your students in Petron and that was way back 2012.

    I am always looking forward to your grammar and word tips. I was surprised that all your emails go to the spam folder and I blame yahoo for that. For a long time now that my yahoo account is having problems with spams and all. Thus, I decided to change my email address. Given that, I will be happy to continue subscribing on your website and receive emails like this at my new address: judith.umali@icloud.com.

    Thank you Ma’am for continue sending tips to your former students. I hope to hear from you soon at my new email address.

    God Bless you always!

    Sincerely, Judith Umali

  2. Hi, Judith! How are you? :) Yes, it would be my pleasure to subscribe your new email address to this site. I will send you an invitation. Kindly confirm that invitation so you will receive every post in your inbox. Bless you too! :)

  3. Uh oh…I did use the subject word to mean respond or reply. I knew it. I should have listened to what my gut was telling me the very first time I used it. Blame the British boss. hehe…

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