If I could turn the clock back,

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If I could turn the clock back, I would have a different philosophy.

Could I write "return to the past" instead of the underlined part without changing anything? If not, what are the alternate expressions? Thanks.
  • Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Yes, you could write "return to the past," but your
    English reader would wonder why you are being so maudlin. The reason is that returning to the past is saying that you are resurrecting something in order to
    relive your memories. The colloquialism, turn the clock back, is better. It gives the
    impression that you only want to momentarily think about something in the past. It is
    a matter of taste but turn the clock back is acceptable in a formal piece of writing as well as return to the past.
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