“What’s wrong with this?”
“Even my Vice President writes this!”
“But, I’ve been writing this for so many years and nobody has said anything.”
These are varying reactions from participants when I tell them to avoid this phrase in their emails. After a training session on ‘kindly revert back’, participants check the meaning of the word and come back the next day nodding in agreement that perhaps this is a not-so-good phrase to write.
One, ‘revert back’ is a tautology. A tautology is an unnecessary repetition of a meaning that has already been conveyed. Some more tautologies – prominent landmark (landmark is already a prominent building), free gift (gift is already free), adequate enough (both mean the same), reply back (reply already means write back).
Two, people use ‘revert’ to mean ‘get back’, which is an incorrect usage of the word. Moreover, it has a negative connotation to it. The Oxford dictionary describes the word as“return to a previous state, condition, practice, etc.”
Example: He reverted to his old habit of drinking after abstaining for a year.
Finally, remember the action points that we spoke about earlier? ‘Kindly revert back’ just doesn’t make a good action point either.
How about replacing this with ‘can you respond by Wednesday?’ in a formal conversation. And, ‘can you get back by Wednesday?’ in an informal conversation. Works like a charm!