I want to convey the ability to navigate up and down a list of features*, similarly to the "next" and "previous" scene buttons in a DVD.

What would be the appropriate opposite of advance in "advance to the next feature"? Is "revert to the previous feature" the appropriate phrase?

* Feature in this case refers to a GIS feature (record), though this is irrelevant for the question.

  • 1
    In the context of on-screen menu choices, normally the function would simply be labelled "Back", but for the more general case, "Go back" would be better. Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 19:06

4 Answers 4


If you want a sentence, I would suggest return or go back:

Return to the previous feature.

Go back to the previous feature.

Revert to means change back to, not go back to.

If you're using buttons, you could consider being more concise, and have them say Next and Previous, or Forward and Back.

  • I agree; revert would be probably understood similarly to "revert the last changes."
    – apaderno
    Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 19:36

The literal opposite of “advance” would be “retreat” or possibly “withdraw”.

If you don't want to use the commonly understood “Next” and “Previous”, I would actually suggest not using advance, but rather phrases tailored to your application domain that will be best understood by your particular specialized users.

“Forward” and “Back” may be more suitable as single-word labels.

  • I completely agree with your logic. However, 'advance' is a verb and your suggested alternatives are not.
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 14, 2012 at 8:12

Advance is a relic the magtape era: Advance (tape)/ Rewind (tape).

In the current paradigm, the equivalent terms would probably be 'forward'/'back(ward)', 'next'/'previous', etc.

Give me < > any day.


You may say back or move back.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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