Tim Bowen’s certainly not bringing us down as he brings forward his explanation of these phrasal verbs.

‘The fear is that the continued unrest and lawlessness in the north-east of the country could eventually bring down the government.’ In this sense, bring down is used to mean to topple or overthrow a government or a regime. This phrasal verb can also be used to mean to reduce the rate, level or amount of something, as in ‘Small businesses are calling on the government to do more to bring down energy prices’.

An object, a person or animal can also be brought down in the sense that they are caused to fall to the ground, as in ‘The winter gales brought down power lines across the south-west of England’. In normal conditions, pilots land planes, but, in exceptional circumstances, they may be required to bring a plane down, as in ‘He managed to bring the plane down safely on only one engine’.

To bring down can also mean to cause a feeling of sadness or depression, as in ‘That kind of music never fails to bring me down’.

If an event is brought forward, its date or time is changed so that it takes place earlier, as in ‘They brought the date of the wedding forward so that her cousins could attend’. The opposite of bring forward in this sense is put back.

If plans or ideas are brought forward, they are announced officially so that people can discuss them, as in ‘The full extent of the cuts will not be known until the various government departments have brought forward their spending plans for the next financial year’.