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Is using again in this sentence appropriate?

Back at the gym again after a weekend of mindless eating.

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  • It sounds a little redundant. It should probably be "at the gym again" or "back at the gym".
    – Nick
    Dec 26, 2017 at 7:44

2 Answers 2

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At first hearing, it may seem that back and again imply something similar, but the specific meanings are very different. Back means returning to a physical location, whereas again means doing something one more time.

It is therefore reasonable to use both words in the same sentence, and this NGram shows that such usage is common.

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  • I think it's common, but I still think it's a bit redundant in the way she uses it above.
    – Nick
    Dec 26, 2017 at 8:32
  • @Nick this can be argued over and over, again and again. I agree with Java that the words bare different meanings. Dec 26, 2017 at 8:52
  • Yes, I went back just means I returned to the place I have been before, but without implying I did it more than once. I went back again means I did it at least twice.
    – apaderno
    Dec 26, 2017 at 16:14
  • I agree. I was just showing that the idiom even on freedictionary.com puts "again" into parentheses for the phrase "back at it (again)" because it may be redundant when used by itself. I think the question is whether it is logically redundant for an idiom. I may be misreading what Tessa wants to know though.
    – Nick
    Dec 26, 2017 at 17:06
  • Examples: "I shall be back here tomorrow." "I shall return tomorrow." "Return" already means "to go back (again)". Again, this is an idiom and I think this is the reason why freedictionary.com puts (again) in parentheses in the idiom: because it does seem redundant. This is what I think Tessa wants to know, but she may also want to know whether it is correct, which I agree that it is correct even though I think it may be a "redundant idiom". Again, lots of idioms have grammatical peculiarities.
    – Nick
    Dec 26, 2017 at 17:12
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It does make sense but the sentence lacks the Subject. Who is back at the gym again? Consider something like:

  • I was back at the gym again after a weekend of mindless eating.

Here "again" may mean that you've started afresh. Maybe you didn't attend the gym for a long time and now you've started doing it again.

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  • Hey, Alex. Don't you think it's redundant because of "back" and "again"? As a native speaker, I would say it's redundant. It should be, "I was back at the gym after a weekend of mindless eating" or "I was at the gym again after a weekend of mindless eating." This doesn't mean that people don't say this in informal speech; I'm just talking about correct grammar.
    – Nick
    Dec 26, 2017 at 7:51
  • If I had taken a long hiatus as you state in your answer, I would probably say, "I was back at the gym once again."
    – Nick
    Dec 26, 2017 at 7:53
  • @Nick No, as a non-native speaker I don't find it redundant. the meaning may differ depending on saying "back at the gym after" or "back at the gym again after". I sense something like "Attended the gym again" (meaning starting attending it) while with "back at the gym after" I hear something like "Returning to the gym" (meaning simply going back to the gym). Dec 26, 2017 at 8:04
  • @Nick Yes, your "once again" is just the thing I hear, but imagine that there was more than 'once again', something like 'yet once again'. Dec 26, 2017 at 8:05
  • I agree with you that it's common, but I still think it's redundant in the way Tessa is using it. It's not that big of a deal, though.
    – Nick
    Dec 26, 2017 at 8:32

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