to be back at square one

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Senior Member
English (Canada)
Hi all--how might one render the phrase 'to be back at square one' in MSA and the different dialects? The phrase means '[to be l]ocated back at the start, as after a dead end or failure'[1], illustrated in the example below[2].

Attempts to form a government in Sweden were back at square one on Monday after the Centre Party, citing policy differences, said it would vote against a second term in office for Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven.

The country has been without a government since September, when an election delivered a hung parliament that has already rejected both Lofven and the leader of the four-party, center-right Alliance as prime minister.
Thanks in advance.


back to square one - Wiktionary


Sweden stuck in political limbo as Centre snubs Lofven for PM
  • jack_1313

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    In MSA I often see نقطة الصفر, e.g. عاد الأمر إلى نقطة الصفر or مما يعيد الأمر إلى نقطة الصفر.

    Wadi Hanifa

    Senior Member
    People do just say المربع الأول in MSA.

    One Arabian/bedouin vernacular expression would be:
    كنّك يا ابو زيد ما غزيت
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