BITS and Pieces

Get global. Get ahead.

Revert

And so it seems that Corporate India takes human beings to be some kind of an object. Surprised? Me, not quite! If one uses words meant for objects when talking about humans, this is only a very hilariously logical extrapolation.

Pick any one of the millions of linguistically challenged emails flying across in the corporate world and chances are you will find something in it that reads like this, “I will speak to my boss and revert” or “Please revert at the earliest.”

‘Revert’ simply means ‘to return to a former state.’ In that sense, what these sentences would actually mean to a native speaker is “I will speak to my boss and return to my former state” or “Please return to your former state at the earliest.” Now, that would surely sound funny, won’t it? J

Although human beings can revert to their former state, say, by raising one leg and then lowering the raised leg, this is a verb that is best used with objects or things and their ability to return to their former state. Here are a few examples to help you understand where and how to use this verb:

  1. The clock reverts to normal operation if no key is pressed for 10 seconds.
  2. After the vending machine has dispensed a bottle of water, it reverts to the standby mode.
  3. He could speak English but every now and then found the need to revert to his native language.
  4. Although mass religious conversions were reported, it was also said that some people reverted to their former religion.
  5. The deal did not go through and the ownership of the property was reverted to the former owner.

Use it right to be understood better internationally!

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Sandeep Nulkar - Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, BITS Private Limited Sandeep Nulkar started his career as a translator way back in 1993 and heads one of India’s largest translation and localisation companies – BITS Private Limited. He is a linguist by passion, businessman by choice and author by circumstances. Over the past decade, he has been working closely with the corporate world and with students and the academia to create an identity for the Indian translator within and outside India.