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July 28, 2005


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Divyesh V Gandhi

I feel the same. The term "verbiage" is more stylish and yes you are correct that it actually stands for excessive use of words. But also help us to use simpler language.

Hope you will revert.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Divyesh, thank you for commenting. I do prefer simpler language, and that is why I am wondering about your use of "revert." Is there a simpler word for your meaning?


Nadeem Hasan

I have the definition of "verbiage" posted prominently in my cube, but that doesn't stop people from using it ad nauseam. So, I posted another sign next to it which reads, "Pejorative Censoriousness at Work, Speak and Write Carefully!" Now I make fun of them with impunity.

The secondary dictionary definition is another example of enough people using a word incorrectly, and so frequently, that dictionaries start including the wrong definition as a second or less preferred meaning. Just the same way as people often use "aggravated" to mean "irritated."

Mark Walters

Hi Lynn

I have been frustrated by the way people misuse the word 'revert'. I have always understood it to mean 'return to previous state' or similar, NOT 'respond' or 'reply'. This seems to be backed up by the definitions I looked up - what is your view?


Nadeem Hasan

Mark, I concur with your understanding of the word. Not even by a long stretch can 'revert' mean 'respond' or 'reply.' The only explanation of this misuse is that some people have reverted to a troglodyte state.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Nadeem, thank you for responding to Mark.

I have been away from my reference books, so I haven't responded yet. I like to check a few resources before I reply. If I give bad advice, people will think I have reverted to a troglodyte state too!


Nadeem Hasan

Hi Lynn,

I hope you didn't mind my jumping into the conversation by 'reverting' to Mark! Actually, I never made the connection with the first post in this thread. Previously, I had no clue what that person was saying.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

I have looked through a shelf full of reference books. Now I can conclusively say that "revert" is never used in American English for the meaning "reply" or "respond."

I cannot speak for its use in India.


Stephen Whittam

Some people in the UK use 'revert' in this manner, especially when asking for someone to respond to an email. As far as I can tell from reference this is not correct in the UK either. However could this not be an example of language evolution?

Naga Deepika

Hi please help me to write various business questionare by the clients

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Naga, I am sorry that I cannot provide individual help to you now. I suggest that you search this blog for the information and examples you want.

Best wishes,


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