IN STARTWO of The Star of June 7,
there is a letter to Big Brother from a young person, headlined ‘Stupid Mistake’, that contains a grammatical mistake which is especially common in spoken English in the UK.
The correspondent writes:
“Later on, me and a team member asked a girl in our group for her project file.”
This should read:
“Later on, a team member and I asked a girl in our group for her project file.”
I have lived in Malaysia for many years and I am always grateful for the fact that so many people speak English, since I am so bad at languages and, like most English people, lazy about learning them.
Most Malaysians I meet speak English well, and even when they don’t, at least they make the effort, which is quite a lot of effort considering the chaotic irrationality of English vocabulary and grammar.
However, there are one or two errors that really annoy me, but which have come to be accepted as normal (I can’t understand how but that is the state of things at present).
For example, I get communications from societies and business organisations I am a member of inviting me to a meeting, and the text adds:
“Please revert to us at your earliest opportunity.”
This is a completely wrong use of the word revert. The correct use is featured in the following sentence:
“At first, she found him to be a good and caring husband. But after some time he reverted to his old ways and began abusing her.”
“At the stroke of midnight, the coach that Cinderella had been riding in reverted to a pumpkin.”
I really cannot understand how this word revert has come to be misused. Why do they not write:
“Please reply to us at your earliest opportunity.”
That would be the correct English here. – Hassan Peter Brown