Back vs. Again


Back

Back is an adverb particle. With a verb, back suggests a return to an earlier situation or a movement in the opposite direction.

  • Give me my money back.
  • If you are not satisfied with this product, you can bring it back.

Note that back usually goes between the verb and its object, unless this object is a pronoun. It is also possible to put back after the object.

  • Take back your money. (OR Take your money back.)
Again

With a verb, again suggests repetition.

  • It was a lovely song. Would you play it again?

Again goes after a verb and its object.

With adverb particles

With adverb particles and prepositional phrases, both back and again can be used to suggest a return to an earlier situation.

  • Go to sleep again. (OR Go back to sleep.)
  • I will be back in the office on Monday. (OR I will be in the office again on Monday.)

Note that ring back and call back can be used to mean both return a phone call and repeat a phone call.

Grammar exercise

Complete the following sentences using back or again.

1. Give me my money —————–

a) back b) again

2. I met him —————— yesterday.

a) back b) again

3. She counted the coins ——————-

a) back b) again

4. I am taking this cheese ——————- to the shop.

a) back b) again

5. Can you play that song —————–?

a) back b) again

6. She said that she would not talk to me ——————

a) again b) back

7. I write to him every now and then, but he never writes ———————-

a) again b) back

8. She can never return to her country —————-

a) back b) again

9. I hope to see him ——————-

a) back b) again

Answers

1. Give me my money back.

2. I met him again yesterday.

3. She counted the coins again.

4. I am taking this cheese back to the shop.

5. Can you play that song again?

6. She said that she would not talk to me again.

7. I write to him every now and then, but he never writes back.

8. She can never return to her country again.

9. I hope to see him again.