Today I will teach you how to use the following 2 idioms, which are extremely similar.

  • Push someone to do something.
  • Push someone into doing something.

You’ll also learn where you can use these on the IELTS exam.

Idiomatic language is a must for a 7 or higher on IELTS Writing.

Watch the video now!

Today’s question comes from one of our Instagram followers, who said:

“Hi guys! I often see people saying “push someone to do something.”

Is that a bad thing or a good thing?

I don’t know if it is like an incentive or obligation.”

This is a really good question, because it can be either, depending on the context.

We love the thoughtful, intuitive questions that are commented on our Instagram posts.

We have over 23,000 followers because we post every day with tips and tricks for IELTS and new vocabulary.

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Talking about being pushed to do something or pushing someone else to do something can definitely be used on IELTS Speaking.

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#1: Pushing someone to do something

When we say we push someone to do something, the meaning is that you’re encouraging, motivating or incentivizing someone.

“I pushed my friend to apply for a new job, because he’s always hated his.”

“My parents pushed me to study by rewarding me when I earned good grades.”

This meaning has a very positive connotation.

Where can you use this on IELTS?

Speaking Part 1 might have questions asking you about a goal you have set for yourself or what you like to do with friends.

You could talk about pushing yourself to accomplish your goal, or pushing friends to be their best selves.

Part 2 might ask you to describe a time you accomplished a goal, or a time someone pushed you to accomplish something.

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When you use our Insider Method you avoid the BIGGEST MISTAKES that most students make on IELTS.

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#2: Pushing someone into doing something

Depending on the context, this idiom can have a negative connotation.

In this case, we say we push someone INTO doing something.

You might be pushed into doing something harmful or dangerous, or something you don’t want to do.

A parallel expression is putting pressure on someone.

Look at these very similar sentences:

The police pushed him to confess.

The police pushed him into confessing.

Such a small difference in structure, but a very big difference in meaning!

The first means he was motivated and encouraged, while the second means he was bullied or forced.

Where to use this idiom on IELTS

Use the phrase “pushed into” on IELTS anytime you’re describing something you didn’t want to do and were forced.

You can also use it to talk about a time someone put pressure on you to do something.

A Part 2 question might be:

Describe a time you visited a friend in another city.

You could describe all the museums your friend pushed you into visiting, when all you wanted to do was go to the beach.

Or maybe they pushed you into going skydiving when that’s the last thing you wanted to do!

A Part 3 question or Writing Task 2 topic might ask about unnecessary force used by police officers to obtain confessions.

The topic could also be regarding the statistics of innocent people being convicted of crimes.

You could use the idioms “push someone to” or “push someone into” when writing about the circumstances that force someone into making a false confession.

Takeaway

These 2 idioms are very similar, with only slight grammatical changes.

However, the grammar difference totally changes the meaning!

This idiomatic language can boost your Vocabulary score, so practice using these phrases!

For daily posts with more great vocabulary and idioms, follow us on Instagram – All Ears English!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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