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Has David's red pen of doom run out?

Lurker
Grafter
Posts: 1,867
Registered: 23-10-2008

Has David's red pen of doom run out?

Quote
Your username: madeupusername
Dear James
We're writing to let you know that the government is increasing VAT on 1st January 2010 from 15% back to 17.5%. So, from your January bill onwards the monthly subscription for your PlusNet Business Premier up to 8Mb (Annual Contract, No Modem) account will revert back to the same price we charged in November 2008.
We're also taking this opportunity to make our terms and conditions easier to understand. For a long time customers on different services have had slightly varied terms. From January we'll have one standard set of terms and conditions for all our services, which will make it much simpler for anyone checking their agreement. You can read the full terms here:
http://www.plus.net/go.html/terms_update
Kind regards,

Anthony Vollmer
CEO Plusnet
This email has been sent as it contains important information about your service from Plusnet. Please do not reply to this email, as this is an unmonitored address.
Email ref: E_200912vattxt_16
--
Plusnet plc
Registered Office: Internet House, 2 Tenter Street, Sheffield, S1 4BY Registered in England no: 3279013



Revert back!!! How did that slip through?  Grin
Revert means to go back, thus 'revert back' makes no sense.
Not a massive issue with the content or tone, but is does look unprofessional to not proofread business communications before sending them out.

P.S. The reference to David in the title is because PN used to pass communications such as this to PUG first for proofreading and tone checking before sending; David was one of the better scribes amongst us, and often wielded a metaphoric red pen with abandon to correct flaws in messages before they were sent out.  Wink
11 REPLIES
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 8,950
Thanks: 449
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Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Has David's red pen of doom run out?

PUG did comment on the emails prior to them being sent out and they were clarified in some areas as a result. However whilst 'revert back' has tautological undertones to some, this scribe is quite happy with the usage in the context it occurs - it fits with a friendly tone of voice.
David
David
Lurker
Grafter
Posts: 1,867
Registered: 23-10-2008

Re: Has David's red pen of doom run out?

Amazed you let that one go - but glad you are still applying the pen of redness. Cheesy
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
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Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Has David's red pen of doom run out?

I'm probably going to lose any respect I may have for my knowledge of language over this, but I actually think ‘revert back’ should be allowable as it applies a nuance which is absent without the second word.
Let me explain. Say Plusnet have had two different prices for Business Premier prior to the VAT change. One would be the price that was applicable up until November 2008 (let's say £30 – I don't know how much it really was), and another would be perhaps £35 which was in operation before the £30 price came in to force at some hypothetical time.
Now compare these two statements:
Quote
So, from your January bill onwards the monthly subscription for your PlusNet Business Premier up to 8Mb (Annual Contract, No Modem) account will revert to the price we charged until November 2008.

Quote
So, from your January bill onwards the monthly subscription for your PlusNet Business Premier up to 8Mb (Annual Contract, No Modem) account will revert back to the price before the VAT change.

Do you see what I'm getting at here? To me, adding ‘back’ implies it's a reversion to the immediately preceding state of affairs. Hence adding ‘back’ to the first statement would seem a bit weird in my opinion, but it's acceptable in the second statement because it's referring to the price that preceded the current price. I admit that the literal definition of ‘back’ doesn't make this distinction very clear, and I also agree that ‘back’ could be removed from the second statement and it'd still make perfect sense. But like it or not, I'm pretty certain that little nuance exists – perhaps without most people even realising it.
Ah, English. You can't help but love its quirkiness. Smiley
Lurker
Grafter
Posts: 1,867
Registered: 23-10-2008

Re: Has David's red pen of doom run out?

Go back back?
I agree about the quirkiness though, and I accept that its a living language, and 'revert back' will probably become correct over time through common use.
Its like 'Can I have' v 'May I have' each means something quite different in the strictest terms, but through common use they are generally accepted to be the same thing.
Simon_M
Grafter
Posts: 684
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Has David's red pen of doom run out?

The beauty of English is that while it appears to be full of synonyms at the 'shorter' dictionary level, in reality there are very few true synonyms at all.
Revert & back don't mean the same thing, although using both together may be overkill. Where there are two apparent synonyms, common usage generally gives quite subtle shades of meaning that become unique to each word. In the email, I think it's the inclusion of the word 'same' that leads the writer to also include the word 'back'.
Compare
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will revert back to the same price we charged in November 2008

with
Quote
will revert to the price we charged in November 2008

and
Quote
will revert to the same price that was charged in November 2008

When read with revert alone, the stress falls on the word 'same'. The writer, probably unconsciously, felt that revert needed more stress to give the right balance, hence 'back' was included to balance out the stress points.
This is beginning to sound like one of those dreadful poetry lessons back in the days of Eng. Lit., when the teacher would say "Now class, what do you think the poet meant when he wrote ......?" & would then proceed to attribute all sorts of fanciful interpretations on the poor poet's by now tortured mind, more on the basis of teacher's own tortured efforts to fill the lesson rather than anything that could logically be deduced from the words on the page.
If the '_16' part of the email reference relates to the number of different versions of this email already, then I'm not surprised that it didn't get a level of care in proof-reading beyond that needed to check the factual content. As it appears that it didn't even go to it's intended customer group, we can probably conclude that the finer points of English grammar didn't figure too highly in the time allocated to the job.
Ok, chaps, back to the serious business of running an ISP.  Smiley Tongue
Community Veteran
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Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Has David's red pen of doom run out?

Quote from: Simon
When read with revert alone, the stress falls on the word 'same'. The writer, probably unconsciously, felt that revert needed more stress to give the right balance, hence 'back' was included to balance out the stress points.

You know, that's a very good point and I'm strongly inclined to agree with you, despite it seeming to obliterate my own theory. Sad
Quote from: Simon
This is beginning to sound like one of those dreadful poetry lessons back in the days of Eng. Lit., when the teacher would say "Now class, what do you think the poet meant when he wrote ......?" & would then proceed to attribute all sorts of fanciful interpretations on the poor poet's by now tortured mind, more on the basis of teacher's own tortured efforts to fill the lesson rather than anything that could logically be deduced from the words on the page.

Oh I hated that too – and I had a double-helping as it came up in music lessons all too often as well. Anyone above the age of the age of 18 seemed to believe that any literary or musical work had to be laced with all manner of meanings that, frankly, I was never convinced actually existed. (That isn't to say I didn't believe some works had meanings that weren't immediately evident – of course they did. But often, I felt, people were reading far far too much in to things.)
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Has David's red pen of doom run out?

Is that our Dave, has anyone seen our Dave?
Simon_M
Grafter
Posts: 684
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Has David's red pen of doom run out?

Quote from: Be3G
Oh I hated that too

Good to see that there are some educational traditions that have survived the last 40 years then  Cheesy
Community Veteran
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Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Has David's red pen of doom run out?

Quote from: chillypenguin
Is that our Dave, has anyone seen our Dave?

Depends which one you mean – if you mean PUG's (which James meant), just take a further look up this thread. If you mean Tomlinson, poke your nose in to Broadband Speed or the 21CN forums.
Community Veteran
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Re: Has David's red pen of doom run out?

revert
vb [rɪˈvɜːt] (intr; foll by to)
1. to go back to a former practice, condition, belief, etc. she reverted to her old wicked ways
2. to take up again or come back to a former topic
3. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Biology) Biology (of individuals, organs, etc.) to return to a more primitive, earlier, or simpler condition or type
4. (Law) Property law (of an estate or interest in land) to return to its former owner or his heirs when a grant, esp a grant for the lifetime of the grantee, comes to an end
revert to type to resume characteristics that were thought to have disappeared
n [ˈriːˌvɜːt]
(Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) a person who, having been converted, has returned to his former beliefs or Church
[from Latin revertere to return, from re- + vertere to turn]
reverter  n
revertible  adj
Usage: Since back is part of the meaning of revert, one should not say that someone reverts back to a certain type of behaviour
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 6th Edition 2003. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
Plusnet Alumni (retired) orbrey
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 10,540
Registered: 18-07-2007

Re: Has David's red pen of doom run out?

True... but the boom of the interwebs has added an awful lot of words to the english language in the last 7 years, and changed the meanings of a lot more.