Google Ngrams says that go back to being friends is a lot more common than go back being friends.

Is the reason grammatical? Or there's another reason? (Or maybe they are equally correct?)

  • 3
    Why do you think go back being friends might be correct? Two friends have a quarrel, then they make it up; they return to the state of 'being friends'. Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 14:40

2 Answers 2


"Go back being friends" sounds awkward and incorrect. "Go back to being friends" sounds much more natural.


"Go back" means "return", and "being friends" is a state. After having a falling out, two people may return to this state. Grammatically, this is the same as how they might return to their home towns after a road trip.


The two went back to London.

*The two went back London. (bad grammar)

It's the same comparison with your two sentences:

go back to being friends

*go back being friends (also bad grammar)

  • 2
    @EllieK No, it's an example of bad grammar for contrast. That's what the asterisk is for. If the OP gets that "went back London" is wrong, they'll get why "go back being friends" is wrong too.
    – gotube
    Commented Oct 8, 2021 at 13:59

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