When using your hands to move something away from the body, use the word "push." This is the opposite action of the verb, "pull."

simple past past participle
  •  This snowball is getting harder and harder to push.
  •  He’s pushing an amplifier.
pushing an amplifier
  •  The boy on the swing is being pushed by his grandfather.

(This sentence is in the present continuous tense, passive voice.)

pushing a child on the swings

There are other ways to use this word as a verb:

  • Jonah’s parents are pushing him to become a doctor. (push = to motivate someone)
  • Our supervisor likes to push his employees around. (push around = to bully; to use one’s power)
  • The President is trying to push some of his ideas through Congress. (push = promote)
  • The community is pushing for a new playground.
  • How much data can you push through your internet connection?

You can also use "push" as a noun:

  • There’s been a major push to get guns off the streets in this neighborhood. (push = effort)
  • The push for more spending on infrastructure is finally starting to pay off.
  • Pushback from the American public on the issue of health care caused some changes in the final plan. (pushback = opposition)

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This page was first published on July 7, 2012. It was updated on March 29, 2015.