Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Great Indian “Revert”

re·vert
intr.v.re·vert·ed, re·vert·ing, re·verts
1. To return to a former state, condition, practice, subject, or belief.
2. Law To return to the former owner or to the former owner’s heirs. Used of money or property.
3. Genetics To undergo reversion.

Indians often use the word “Revert” out of context. It is used as a synonym for “Respond” or “Reply”. This is incorrect. “Revert” does NOT mean “reply or respond”. 
 
To give an example , http://www.yourstory.in had a post earlier today which said: 
 
At the event, a few Big Data startups will have a chance to pitch their startups to Accel Partners and Amr, the CTO and Co-Founder of Cloudera and get direct feedback.  If you’re interested in this opportunity, do fill out this form and we shall revert to you.
 
Now, when the above article says “revert” , they mean respond. I am not sure when/where/how this incorrect usage started, but it is increasingly being used – in print media, articles, websites, official communications, emails (“revert to me soon” and “revert to me with details”)
 
For example, the above article should have said: 
If you’re interested in this opportunity, do fill out this form and we shall get back to you. 
or
If you’re interested in this opportunity, do fill out this form and we shall respond. 
or
If you’re interested in this opportunity, do fill out this form and we shall reply. 
 
The true meaning of revert is “to return to an original state” and not “to respond”. The correct usage of “revert” is best illustrated by this example. 
 
After the firm’s employees found a spelling mistake in their company’s new logo, they reverted to their old logo.

 I hope that this blogpost and rant atleast prevents a few people from incorrectly using “revert” after reading this. 

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