The constant abuse of “Revert”

The constant abuse of “Revert”

I have recently noticed the word “revert” being used instead of the word “reply” or “get back” in day-to-day business communications by almost everyone here in India. However, that is a grammatically incorrect usage of the word. Probably, someone stupid enough thought that it’s more professional to use the word “revert” instead of “reply”. Even top-level CEOs in esteemed organisations are seen misusing the word, which is sad, really. They say (and even write): “I’ll revert to you with more details”. These starched-shirt types have been brought up to avoid using the word “get”, so cannot bring themselves to utter “I’ll get back to you with more details”.

The correct meaning of the word “revert” is essentially to return to a former habit, practice, belief, condition, etc. Generally, this is used in the software world to represent application roll-back to a previous version: “Due to critical bugs in version 1.2, they reverted the software to version 1.1.

Some more examples:
“A witch turned the princess to a frog. But, when the prince kissed the frog, it reverted to the princess form.”
“When the sun rises, the werewolf reverts to its human form.”

Get the idea?

Since “revert” means “rollback”, “revert back” is also incorrect. “I will revert to you later” is grammatically correct, but the meaning is not what you think. The meaning is “Sometime later I will become you or change back to you. Also implies that sometime back I was you”. Stupid, right?

Revert to me with the details” literally means I’m asking you to carry those details and become me. That definitely sounds dumb.

Let’s spread the word and save the word from abuse.