The Journal Gazette
Saturday, May 16, 2020 1:00 am

Enabling your push notifications

Curtis Honeycutt

Our daughter stinks at sharing.

She's two-and-a-half. Don't get me wrong – we're trying to teach her tyrannical little mind how to share toys, but as soon as we try to share her unicorn figurine, she pushes us. She's a pusher.

If you see her on the playground over the next few months, don't even look at her unicorn; she'll push you.

I'm surprised how many versions of the word “push” we have, and how it means so many different things depending on the other words that accompany it. Maeve (our daughter) illustrates the primary definition of the verb “push”: to move something forward by exerting force. She is a force all her own.

On its own, “push” can mean a few different things: it can mean “to approach a certain age,” “to deal drugs” or “to zealously make a sales pitch to someone.” Yes, the word “push” is really pushing the boundaries, so to speak.

Additionally, we find “push” in several phrases, and, as a result, the definition changes. For instance, I planned on doing many push-ups during my time at home over the past few months. I did around 12 push-ups. Call me a pushover, but I didn't want to get in shape to the point of other people being jealous of me. I don't want to be pushy about my fitness regime.

If you want to push Maeve's buttons, just steal her unicorn toy from her. When someone “pushes your buttons,” they're doing something they know is going to annoy you. When push comes to shove, you don't want to be known as the person who takes toys from toddlers.

If you want to “push the envelope,” you likely want to approach the limit of what is possible or acceptable. It won't be acceptable to take toys from little kids anytime soon.

Even though we'd like to “push forward” or “push ahead” to life being the way it was prior to coronavirus, you're likely to get some quick “pushback” from scientists, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. To me, when someone says they're going to have to “push back,” this is really just a nice way of saying, “I disagree with your idea so vehemently I could punch you in the neck, but I'm going to be polite about it.”

After all, being safe when it comes to our communal health is better than “pushing up daisies.”

Curtis Honeycutt, aka The Grammar Guy, is a Noblesville-based syndicated humor columnist. He is the author of “Good Grammar is the Life of the Party: Tips for a Wildly Successful Life.” Find more at

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