When Should You Push Back, Ahead, or Around?

In Daily English 200 – Meeting a Deadline,  the phrasal verb “to push back” means to change a scheduled event to a later date. For example:

“Since Dave will be out of town on the 4th, we’ll need to push back the date of the party.”

There are a couple of other popular phrasal verbs with “push.”

To push ahead”  means to continue even though the situation is difficult:

“We’re all tired but let’s push ahead and try to finish this letter before we quit work for the day.”

“A lot of people don’t want us to say anything negative about the new policy, but we have to push ahead if we want our opinions to be heard.”

To push (someone) around” means to force someone to do something they don’t want to, by threatening them with harm:

“An older boy at school is trying to push my little brother around.”

“The new boss is trying to push everybody around by making decisions without asking anyone else.”

Finally, “to push off” means to leave.

The meaning of push off is probably related to the practice of people having to push (move by using your arms or legs) a boat out into the water from a dock (a place where you keep boats on a lake or in the ocean).

But be careful with this one! To push off can also mean to tell someone rudely (not nicely) to leave:

“Why don’t you stop looking at my girlfriend and push off, buddy?”

I’m not in a boat right now, or looking at your girlfriend, but I’ll push off for now!


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  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
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