English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there a verb that means "to return from a digression"? The best I can think of is a phrase like "Getting back on topic, . . ."

share|improve this question
Technically "regress" could mean this, but it is never actually used this way. – SevenSidedDie Sep 7 '12 at 18:04
Neither English, nor a single word, but 'Revenons à nos moutons.' – Barrie England Sep 7 '12 at 19:05
@Barrie "Let's return to our sheep"? Charming idiom, that. :) – SevenSidedDie Sep 7 '12 at 21:39
to de-digress, just kidding. – Xantix Sep 12 '12 at 0:25

The opposite/complement of digressing is sticking to the intended subject matter.

As for the action of getting back to that position after a digression, OP's "To get back on topic,...", or "To return to the subject,..." are perfectly normal. A possible one-word alternative might be...


share|improve this answer

Resume (“To start (something) again that has been stopped or paused from the point at which it was stopped or paused; continue, carry on”) and return occasionally are so used in phrases in fiction, like “After that digression he resumed...”, or a narrator might say, “To resume our story” or “To return to my point”. Recollect, in sense “To collect (things) together again”, and retrieve (“To remember or recall something”) also are used: “Recollecting himself, he continued:” or “Retrieving his thoughts, he went on”. All sorts of other phrases (but few single, unsupported verbs) are used: “But where was I?”, “Less digressively”, “More topically”, “But I digress”, “Resuming our thread”, “That aside”.

share|improve this answer

I've always used the phase, "Stepping out of a tangent." It's most likely not a common phrase, but a good one.

share|improve this answer
This would be an idiolect. It could be used, but it's not in general or even dialect-limited usage as the question is asking. – SevenSidedDie Sep 7 '12 at 18:23

Regress could work, but if you digress, then it's closer to deviate in its use in this sense.

So I don't think there is a single word for un-digress in this context.

In the sentence "let me just digress and speak about XYZ," you would use the sentence "anyway, to return to the main topic..." so I think "return" would work best as you are returning from a digression.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.