|> 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.
- 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?
English exercise "Back or Again" created by here4u with The test builder. [More lessons & exercises from here4u]
Click here to see the current stats of this English test
Please log in to save your progress.
End of the free exercise to learn English: Back or Again
A free English exercise to learn English.
Other English exercises on the same topics : Adverbs | Frequent mistakes | Idioms | All our lessons and exercises