Imagine in a conversation over an important issue, between two people, the other side starts talking about a different topic which differs with the main subject under discussion. This way in an unwanted manner he is misleading the conversation. In other hand you intend to come back to the subject you started to talk to him about it at the beginning. Which one of the following sentences sounds natural in (especially American) English?

1 - Let's get back to the main subject.

2 - Let's get back to the main matter.

3 - Let's get back to the main topic.

4 - Let's get back on topic.

If no one, then please tell me the most common way to say that.

Added: to clarify the matter in my question I will make two different scenarios:

case 1)

Father: You have put much more time for your studies. You don't study as hard as you should recently David. I was shocked when I saw your last report card at the end of the previous semester just a couple of days ago.

Son: I will do that dad. Meanwhile, did you know that tomorrow will be a derby between Manchester City and Manchester United. (Smilingly says the son.)

Father: Yes. I'm informed about it. But......[the phrase]........

Case 2:

Professor: Today we are going to discuss about the latest discoveries in the field of oncology. But before that I have some small grievances against some students that do not pay attention to me when I teach. Last week, at the end of a session, a student came to me and asked me about a subject that we had discussed about it at least 30 minutes during the last three sessions. ....[The professor asks them to pay more attention to the course topics.] Well. ......[the phrase]........

  • 4
    "Let's get back on track." "Let's not cloud the issue." There are lots of ways to say this. This is getting close to being a list question, rather than one looking for a specific answer.
    – user3169
    Feb 12, 2017 at 20:38
  • 1
    Agreed. This question is too broad. You will need to provide a little more context.
    – Andrew
    Feb 12, 2017 at 21:24
  • Thank you very much both @user3169 and Andrew. :) With great pleasure. For me, what I wrote suffices, but I'm not in you place and have no sense of a native speaker way of thinking. I'll complete the thread by making an example. :)
    – A-friend
    Feb 12, 2017 at 22:10
  • 1
    Note that "mislead" means something like "tell lies to", not "lead in the wrong way." Feb 12, 2017 at 22:32
  • @DavidRicherby thank you very much. It was a helpful comment.
    – A-friend
    Feb 12, 2017 at 22:34

2 Answers 2


I usually say something like "going back to what we were saying about {X}...", but if I had to pick from your list, I'd pick #1 and #4 as the most natural.

#4 is slightly more abrasive than #1.


case 1: But back to your studies...

This is a perfect response to someone intentionally trying to change the subject.

If it is you that have wandered off-topic, you can use:

case 2: But I digress...

and return to the topic-at-hand.

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