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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #126823: Back or Again
    > Other English exercises on the same topics: Adverbs | Frequent mistakes | Idioms [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Placement test beginners: Check your spelling - Past simple or present perfect - Adjectives and adverbs - Adverbs of frequency - Although / in spite of / despite - Differences between Like and As - Again/ back - FOR and its use
    > Double-click on words you don't understand

    Back or Again

    AGAIN and BACK may be tricky words for foreigners. Very often, they are mixed up, simply because Learners don't think of their real meanings enough...  Let's try to repeat what may still be a little confused...

    These two words often correspond to the French prefix 're-' placed in front of a verb. ( come again/back, send again/back, etc.) No real distinction is made in French... 



    1. AGAIN+ verb: expresses a repetition. A word, or an action is repeated. Again is generally placed at the end of the clause.  

     - I couldn't see what you did very well... Can you do it again, please? 

     I called her again and again, but couldn't get her before the weekend. 




    2. BACK+ verb:  expresses a return to a starting point, to a preceding situation, or an answer to an intervention, whatever means is used. Back is also a noun meaning "the rear part of"

    - The tennisman won't  play the following match, as he hurt his back badly and is still receiving treatment.

    - There's a new restaurant at the back of our building. 


    * To BACK may be a verb meaning «to move backward».

     - During his driving test he backed his car into a tree, and failed his test.

    BACK: may be placed between a verb and its direct object, or after the verb.  

     - Paula gave me my money back. 

     - Don't forget to take the books back to the library before Monday. 




     'BACK' SHOULDN'T BE USED: when the verb contains the idea of a return.

     -  I will never return to you after all you did to me. (not... return back to you...) 

     - I told you not to close the door; now open it. (not...open it back) 


    USED WITH PARTICLES, BACK and AGAIN  have the same meaning. 

    He stood up and then sat backdown./ He stood up and then sat down again.

    - I went back to sleep./ I went to sleep again.

        BEWARE OF:

         - To sell back: you sell the object you had bought (to the same person)

         - I had bought those second-hand ski boots but as they didn't fit, I sold them back.



    As you see, you just have to think a little: AGAIN indicates a repetition whereas BACK expresses a return to a situation you have already lived. Easy, isn't it?



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    English exercise "Back or Again" created by here4u with The test builder. [More lessons & exercises from here4u]
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    1. 'I loved that song! Can you please ? '

    2. 'Mrs Jones is not here. Would you like to leave a message for her?' 'No, itís OK! Iíll just laterÖ'

    3. 'Would you like to leave a message for Mrs Jones?' 'Yes! Could you please ask her to as soon as possible?'

    4. 'Mr Peterson called before you arrived! He said heíd after lunch.'

    5. 'Iíve missed you so much when you were away! Iím so happy to at last!'

    6. 'Of course itís a sweet letter. You should now and tell her what you think.'

    7. 'Iíve read this book several times and know some passages by heart.I think Iíll before attending the conference.'

    8. 'Lucy, please, put that game on the shelf when you have finished with it.'

    9. 'Donít be worried Mary, Iíll drive the kids at the end of the party.'

    10. Tommy was so hectic last time that Iím not ready to when Iím here.

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