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Can "revert damage inflicted" be used in a letter to a friend? Would it sound too official? If yes, what phrase would you use instead of the high-lightened one below?

Not only did he type all kinds of nonsense and clicked on "Sent" button a few times on that page, he even tried browsing some others forums where I am a member and "provided some input" there too. I did punish him when I came back, but punishing him didn't revert all the damage inflicted.

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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You typically repair damage:

repair (verb, trans.)

  • fix or mend (a thing suffering from damage or a fault)
  • make good (such damage) by fixing or repairing it
  • put right (a damaged relationship or unwelcome situation)

(New Oxford American Dictionary)

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Thank you. Do you think I could drop "inflicted" here? –  brilliant Apr 25 '11 at 13:50
    
@brilliant: inflicted makes the statement stronger, but can be dropped without change in the meaning –  F'x Apr 25 '11 at 13:51
    
+1 "repair" is nice. You could also use "undo". –  psmears Apr 25 '11 at 20:50
    
If the method of repair is to revert, as with some software (VCS, e.g. SVN), then being more specific may be desirable. –  Nick T Apr 26 '11 at 3:04
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The "revert the damage inflicted" may not be a most natural phrase, but is certainly dramatically acceptable and would be understood.

In this particular context, I would probably use undo. (Note the other minor changes, which are required for grammatical and logical correctness.)

I did punish him when I came back, although punishing him didn't undo all the damage inflicted.

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Your modified version has actually changed the meaning because the act of punishment DID take place. Is it possible to keep the original meaning and at the same time use "undo"? –  brilliant Apr 25 '11 at 13:53
    
your “other minor changes” completely turned around the meaning of the sentence! @brilliant is saying the child was indeed punished, even though that does not undo the damage. –  F'x Apr 25 '11 at 13:55
    
@brilliant: yes, undo is fine –  F'x Apr 25 '11 at 13:55
    
@brilliant, F'x: Oops, yes, you're right. I was slightly confused by the unusual phrasing of the original sentence, but I see now. :) Undo is fine in any case. –  Noldorin Apr 25 '11 at 16:55
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You could also reverse the damage, if the damage is reversible. For example, if you broke my bicycle, I may ask you to repair the damage by fixing it, but if you put all my CDs in the wrong order, I may ask you to reverse the damage by putting them back in the original order.

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Interesting. Thanks for adding it here. –  brilliant Apr 26 '11 at 13:45
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