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Aside from the other ways of referring to a round-trip ticket, ¿is there anything wrong with saying "I bought a plane ticket there and back." To me it sounds perfectly natural and I've found it in several books by reputable authors. However, an American native speaker is telling me that it's unnatural.

Here are several instances of it on Google.

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  • Perfectly natural but unconventional. there and back when referring to the two legs of a trip is normally used in contexts where you're describing the journey, not buying tickets. We drove there and back in only five hours.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 18:02
  • I thought tenebris gave you a pretty decent answer there. It's a shame (but not a cryin shame) it was deleted. And what is this with the quasi-Spanish-style question-mark anyway?? :)
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 18:07
  • I use it to avoid adding a question mark at the end after something that isn't a question.
    – CocoPop
    Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 21:10
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    In my AmE it would be "I bought a plane ticket to there and back."
    – user3169
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 3:58
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    @user3169: I betcha your micropauses are plane-ticket ... to there .. and back whereas without the preposition it's there-and-back.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 11:15

1 Answer 1

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It is not unnatural in British English, in which round-trip ticket is not common but the more usual BrE term would be a return ticket. "There and back" is a direct translation of the German "hin und zürück" and maybe that is where it came from.

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    German actually does have a specific word for a round-trip/return ticket. So the construction with "hin und zurück" is only marginally less "standard" than "there and back" in English, and only due to the fact that "Rückfahrkarte" can be understood as really only a return ticket (that is, a ticket "back", and not "there").
    – user68912
    Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 15:28
  • That potential confusion exists in English too - our "return fares" usually obtain two physical tickets marked OUT and RTN. Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 17:50
  • See also on the return trip or ... journey. Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 17:51

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