Regain your good reputation (gain back / regain difference)

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Senior Member
Chinese Mandarin
I am wondering if there is subtle difference between "gain back" and "regain". I posted a thread as below. I used "You may gradually gain back your reputation with the insurance company if you pay promptly for future goods for some time." A WR member Franco-filly helped correct my "gain back" to "regain" by writing in Post#2: You may need to say "gradually regain a good reputation" as they now have a bad one.reputation" .

You may gain back your reputation gradually with the insurance company

Also, in the thread below, in Post#4, a native speaker Johndot wrote : By the way, it is usual to regain weight rather than gain weight back.

only to gain the weight back quickly..

I thought about it; here is my opinion which I am not sure if it's correct : "regain" something that is similar or the exact thing while "gain back" the exact thing you lost. In above two examples, the objects followed are "reputation" and "weight" which are abstract nouns; it's not good to say they are the exact things you lost so "regain" is used. This seems not quite reasonable. Could you please help with the difference? Thank you.
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The meaning would be the same, but we don't really use "gain back", since the verb "regain" is available.

    (You can also "get back your reputation"/"get your reputation back".) "Regain" the weight you lost is very commonly seen. Also "Put the weight back on".


    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Yes, I don't think I've ever seen "gain back" used like this. You "regain" your reputation: it's basically the same reputation that you had before.

    And certainly, "to put weight back on" is a very idiomatic way of expressing the idea.
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