If there is one phrase that I loathe more than any other in business correspondence, it is
Could you perhaps revert?
I've said this before, I know.
But there's such a huge gap between the question that the writer is trying to ask, and the question that they're actually asking that I just want to write back oozing sarcasm.
Update: I sent this to my staff.
I'm sorry guys, I just need to get this off my chest. It doesn't actually relate to anything you've done.
"revert" is a word that is often misused in correspondence.
The main meaning of the word is to return to a former condition, practice, subject, or belief.
So you can try something, and if it doesn't work then you can revert to a previous option.
There's also a secondary meaning is to return to a former owner (of money or property).
What it does not mean, under any circumstance, is "respond".
The phrase "Please revert to me by such & such a date" is, essentially meaningless.
Of course, lots of people use that phrase, all the time. And most of the time, people read it and understand what was intended. But there are anally retentive idiots like me out there who will read it and think that the person who wrote it is simply showing off their ignorance. So, try to avoid it. The English language is rich and varied and includes a good word to mean respond. That word is "respond".
Posted by Douglas
August 11, 2004 11:23 AM
Will they still love you after that?
Posted by Ruth
August 11, 2004 11:51 AM
Had to be said. I've never heard it used in that way though - maybe it's just a *career-suggesting word edited* thing...?
Posted by Alan
August 11, 2004 12:01 PM
It might just be my company.
It's another of those creeping Americanisms that I detest.
Other examples include 'guys' ;)
Posted by Douglas
August 11, 2004 9:21 PM
I'd like to revert to being on holiday.