Number one for English language teachers

Your English: Phrasal verbs: push

Type: Article

Have you ever been told to push off? Maybe it’s because you pushed in, suggests Tim Bowen.

‘In Britain, people who were against Britain being a part of the EU pushed for a referendum on membership of the European Union. This means that they worked very hard to try and achieve this goal. It is also possible to push someone for something in the sense of trying to make them give you something or do something for you, as in ‘He’s pushing us for a decision by tomorrow’.

If you push in, you stand in front of people who have been waiting longer than you in a queue in a way that is unfair, as in ‘We were all waiting patiently for a taxi, but he just pushed in’.

If you push off, you leave a particular place, as in ‘If there’s nothing else to do here, I might as well push off’ but if you tell someone else to push off, this is a firm but fairly rude way of asking them to leave, as in ‘Listen. You’re not welcome here. Why don’t you just push off?’

To push on means to continue a journey, especially after stopping for a period of time, as in ‘It’s getting late. We’d better push on if we want to reach the campsite before dark’.

If you push through a law or an agreement, you succeed in getting it accepted quickly although a lot of people oppose it, as in ‘He is determined to push the bill through parliament’ or ‘We are hoping to push the amendment through despite the objections of some MPs’.

To push up means to make something such as costs or prices increase, as in ‘Inflation is pushing up costs in all sectors of the economy’.

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