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:
- return to an earlier topic or subject
- return to a former state; to start doing something again that you used to do in the past
- return to the original owner again
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.)