revert back to something

Discussion in 'English Only' started by samson1016, Feb 8, 2006.

  1. samson1016 Member

    English, CA
    Is saying "revert back to something" redundant? Is saying just "revert to something" enough to imply that is was something being done in the past? I don't think just revert sounds as good as revert back to something, but then again, I'm always redundant in my writing.
  2. maxiogee Banned

    Yes, it is tautology.
    If I dye my hair bright red it will eventually revert to its normal colour. There is no need to say it will "revert back to it's normal colour"
  3. TrentinaNE

    TrentinaNE Senior Member

    English (American)
    What maxie said. :) I remember my sixth-grade English teaching harping on exactly this point.
    It does more than imply, it is the very definition of reverting. However, the incorrect "revert back" is used so much in everyday language that I can understand your thinking that just "revert" sounds incomplete. It's not!

  4. samson1016 Member

    English, CA
    thanks guys!!!
    This means a lot because my teacher is a stickler about redundancy!
  5. nycphotography

    nycphotography Senior Member

    I do be learnin stuff
    John-Paul Miller, NYC
    To me, reverting (reversion) is a process that occurs over a time span, while reverting back is more instanteous.

    You revert back to the 3rd version in a single step, while you revert to your childhood ways over a long time span.

    Sticklers about things are prone to overlooking nuances. And you can quote me on that. ;)
  6. maxiogee Banned

    yeah but, no but, yeah but "back" is the only way one can revert!:)

    There may be a need for a word to refine the process, but that word cannot be "back". I'd suggest
    "When the boss had finished speaking, John dropped his arguments and reverted instantly to his previously expressed opinion".
    "The dyed shirt reverted gradually to its original colour after repeated washings."
  7. nycphotography

    nycphotography Senior Member

    I do be learnin stuff
    John-Paul Miller, NYC
    cannot be? or "in a perfect world would not be"?

    English has this thing about rules and breaking them. Especially AE.
  8. TrentinaNE

    TrentinaNE Senior Member

    English (American)
    Agreed. There is no time element inherent in the definition of "revert." Some things revert quickly, others slowly.

  9. maxiogee Banned

    Yes, I'd stand by cannot be.
    If you allow for two types of reversion, one of them cannot be 'back' as by labelling one of them that way precludes the other from being backwards.

    What we're discussing here is the degree of the reversion, not the direction.
    --end edit--

    All 'projections' (of thought) are forward, you cannot say "the planner was projecting forward".
  10. Portavoz

    Portavoz Member

    It's just one of those things common in the English language (i.e., "stand up" ... you can't really "stand down", yet the word "up" is almost always included).
  11. manon33 Senior Member

    English - England (Yorkshire)
    Something one sees increasingly in business emails and letter is people promising to 'revert' to you [once they have done/checked something]. They mean 'get back to you' but (I am told) think 'get back' sounds too colloquial and unprofessional. So they use 'revert', which sounds unnatural, to me.
  12. I agree that we need sticklers at school level to point out that certain words have inherent meanings, and have no need for extra modifiers repeating the meaning already there, so revert back is redundant.

    That Precision Police can miss the nuances of real language is also a point very well taken.

    I think I would not have ever written revert back, but I cannot honestly say I've never uttered that in speech.

    It occurs to me also, there are sometimes interferences from other expresssions, for instance, a magician's instruction to "change it back" and the back from change back could very easily float from our minds to our tongues.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2011
  13. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)

    There was a thread here a while ago where this usage was identified as common in Indian English, while still not accepted in AmE or BrE. It sounds as weird to my ears as revert "back" :D
  14. appc Senior Member

    Note this, it appears in a legal document, a Patent in fact:

    "Regarding the lack of clarity objection directed at claims 11 and 12, we fail to see the point the Examiner ¡s trying to make. Both claims revert back to claims 1 to 9 and therefor clearly define the nature of the compounds used in the methods of these claims".

    I am supposing it is correct.
  15. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    This is using "revert" in a quite different meaning.
    Claims 11 and 12 do not change in any way, they do not become claims 1 to 9.
    Rather, they refer to claims 1 to 9, or in some way rely on those claims.

    This may well be standard usage in some context, but it is alien to me.
  16. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    You can certainly 'stand down' in BrE when you retire from a position or cease to put yourself forward for election.

    But yes, I agree we can do without back for revert except for appc's example, which as panj points out shows a different use.
  17. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    It seems that "Note this, it appears in a legal document, a Patent in fact:" is probably not the case - I doubt it is in a patent. The context suggests the quote is from a lawyer appealing on behalf of his client against the rejection of a patent on (inter alia?) the grounds of a lack of clarity.

    Panj says,
    "Rather, they refer to claims 1 to 9," I would add that they refer back to claims 1 to 9, and the wrong word has been chosen.

    The specific legal use of revert comes in such examples as, "I agree to lease the land to John Smith for a period of 5 years at the end of which time that land will revert to me."

  18. appc Senior Member

    I do appreciate your views on this matter; I am not a "native" speaker, so any views from you are welcome and I always learn a little bit more whenever I visit this forum.

    Actually, it is not a Patent itself, but a letter, but anyway, it is "Patent-related" and legal.
  19. Beryl from Northallerton Senior Member

    British English
    I'm inclined to agree. Is not the use of the legal 'therefor' not also a little off?
  20. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    Unfortunately, lawyers do make mistakes.
  21. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)

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