Can ‘revert’ be used as a synonym of ‘reply’?

I am a native speaker of American English, and I have only ever heard this usage of the word revert from one person. This person is not a native English speaker (he is from India), so he may just be mistaken, but I’m curious if anyone else has seen/heard this usage.

He will write an email, bringing up a point for discussion. He will explain the issue, and then end the paragraph with something like Please do analyze and revert on the status.

The best I can tell, he is asking for a response, and not asking for the something to be undone, or changed back to the way it was before (which is the meaning that I associate with the word revert).

Is revert used with different meanings outside the US?


Yes and no.

Reading around on the internet, it seems that this was originally just an error (and still is one for most native English speakers), but in some non-native-speaker speech communities it has become established as a common usage. From Paul Brians’ Common Errors in English Usage

The most common meaning of “revert” is “to return to an earlier condition, time, or subject.” When Dr. Jekyll drank the potion he reverted to the brutish behavior of Mr. Hyde. But in South Asia it has become common to use “revert” instead of “reply,” writing when people want you to get back to them about something: “revert to me at this address.” In standard English this would literally mean they are asking you to become them, so it is best to stick with “reply” when dealing with non-South Asian correspondents. Even some South Asians disapprove of this use of “revert.”

Googling eg "please revert to me" or "I will revert to you" (and skipping past the first few pages of results, which are mostly usage/grammar sites) gives lots of examples in this usage in the wild. Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to function as an exact synonym for ‘reply’; hardly anybody writes eg “revert to this letter”.

Source : Link , Question Author : pkaeding , Answer Author : PLL

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