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As the word "advance" is used as a verb in the following context:

"Advance to the next page"

what would be an appropriate antonym that would make the most sense in a user interface and have neutral connotation?

Is "Go back" the closest thing? I can possibly see "return to", but that doesn't seem to fit very well.

I know there's quite few antonyms, but most of them seem to have a negative connotation.

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    Well, you could always use "retreat".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 1:18
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    Go back (and go forward). Or back (and forward). Or previous (and next) page.
    – Drew
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 2:30
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    If you're writing a choose your own adventure, use advance for either direction. Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 2:38
  • advance to x, return to x.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 17:15

5 Answers 5

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Advance is awkward in that context. Simply say, "Go to the next page." The opposite is "Go back to the previous page."

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  • It would seem "go back" is the best option; the other option for certain contexts would just be "next" and "previous", but I was curious if there was an appropriate antonym. Thanks for everyone's input Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 17:15
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The classic antonym of advance is 'retire'. It's usually used in a military context, but can be used in other ways. It's not normally used of going back a page, but it would be understood. "Go back" would certainly be simpler.

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    advance and retreat I should have thought....
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 17:16
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"Return" seems to be appropriate for the context you describe.

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    Return is not an exact antonym, as it implies going somewhere you have been before. If you open a book at page 3 you can advance to page 4, or go back to page 2, but you cannot return to page 2. Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 3:23
  • @DJClayworth Go back has the same connotation: if you open the book on page 3, you cannot really go back to page 2 either. You can go to page 4, or you can go to page 2. The default supposition in turning pages, however, is that you start from the beginning of the book and turn one page at a time, and any instructions given are automatically understood as being intended for that scenario. “Go to previous page” would also be meaningless if you open the book on page 3, whereas if you’re just leafing through, it might mean go from page 3 to page 47. Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 15:25
  • "Go back" may mean "go to somewhere you have been before", but it may also mean "move in a backwards direction", like a car in reverse gear. The car is still "going back" even it has never been to the place it is reversing towards. Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 15:28
  • I am here on this forum on this "page"; I shall leave this page and shall return later to this page.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 17:18
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Try - "Pull back/away" or "recede".

In my opinion the context would determine the exact opposite.

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  • Why is this answer shown as a quotation? Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 12:40
  • pull back or recede to a page? Really?
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 17:17
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Why not use "return" or "revisit" so as to avoid negative connotation?

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  • Though now I'm thinking of many entertaining ones with negative connotations: "fall back," "retrogress," "evacuate."
    – wys1wyg
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 2:47
  • P.S. Please tell me your last name in IPA?
    – wys1wyg
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 2:47
  • Both 'return' and 'revisit' implies you have been there before, which is not necessarily the case. Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 3:26
  • Any antonym of advance would imply that, no? To go back you have to have gone before.
    – wys1wyg
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 3:46
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    Not necessarily. If I open a book at page 3, I can 'advance' to page 4. I can't 'return' to page 2, because I have never been there. Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 13:13

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