Understanding the Idiom: "bring forward" - Meaning, Origins, and Usage

Idiom language: English

The Origins of “Bring Forward”

The origins of this idiom are unclear, but it has been in use since at least the 17th century. The word “bring” comes from Old English and means “to carry” or “to convey”. The addition of the word “forward” implies movement towards a specific goal or objective.

Examples of Usage

“Bring forward” can be used in various contexts, such as business meetings, political debates, and social gatherings. For instance:

  • “I would like to bring forward my proposal for a new marketing strategy.”
  • “The committee decided to bring forward their next meeting by two weeks.”
  • “The opposition party brought forward several arguments against the proposed legislation.”

As you can see from these examples, using this idiom adds emphasis and clarity to your message. By bringing something forward, you are highlighting its importance and urgency.

Origins and Historical Context of the Idiom “bring forward”

The idiom “bring forward” has a long history dating back to ancient times. It is believed that the phrase was first used in Greek philosophy, where it referred to the act of presenting an argument or idea for discussion. Over time, the meaning of the idiom evolved and it began to be used in a variety of contexts.

In English, “bring forward” means to present something for consideration or discussion. The term can be used in both formal and informal settings, and is often employed in business meetings, legal proceedings, and political debates.

Throughout history, there have been many famous speeches that have made use of this idiom. For example, Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech brought forward his vision for racial equality in America. Similarly, Winston Churchill’s wartime speeches brought forward his determination to defeat Nazi Germany.

Today, the idiom continues to be widely used across various fields and industries. From scientific research papers to marketing campaigns, bringing ideas and proposals forward remains an essential part of communication and progress.

Usage and Variations of the Idiom “bring forward”


The most common usage of “bring forward” is to refer to an action or event that has been scheduled for a later time but is moved up to an earlier time. For example, if a meeting was originally scheduled for next week but is rescheduled for tomorrow, we can say that the meeting has been brought forward.

Another way in which “bring forward” can be used is to mean presenting an idea or proposal for consideration. In this context, it implies bringing something out into the open or making it visible. For instance, you could say: “I would like to bring forward my suggestion on how we can improve our sales figures.”


“Bring forward” also has several variations depending on the context in which it’s being used:

  • Bring something/someone forward: This variation means moving something or someone closer so they are more easily accessible. For example: “Can you please bring your chair forward so I can hear you better?”
  • Bring up/forward: These two variations are often interchangeable and mean introducing a topic or issue for discussion. For instance: “I’d like to bring up/forward the issue of employee morale.”
  • Bring something/someone out: This variation means revealing something that was previously hidden or unknown. For example: “The investigation brought out some surprising facts about the company’s finances.”
  • Bring something/someone to light: This variation is similar to “bring out” and means revealing something that was previously unknown or hidden. For instance: “The investigation brought to light some irregularities in the accounting department.”

Synonyms, Antonyms, and Cultural Insights for the Idiom “bring forward”


  • Advance
  • Promote
  • Propose
  • Suggest
  • Present
  • Introduce
  • Mention
  • Raise
  • Put forward

These words are all similar in meaning to “bring forward” and can be used interchangeably in certain situations. For example, instead of saying “I would like to bring forward a new idea,” you could say “I would like to propose a new idea.”


On the other hand, there are also words that have opposite meanings to “bring forward.” These include:

  • Withdraw

If someone withdraws their proposal or suggestion, they are essentially doing the opposite of bringing it forward.

Cultural Insights

The idiomatic expression “to bring something/someone forward” has been widely used in English-speaking countries for centuries. It is often employed when discussing politics or business matters where individuals need to present ideas or proposals. In these settings, bringing an idea or proposal forward can be seen as a way of demonstrating leadership qualities such as initiative and creativity.

However, it’s important to note that different cultures may use this phrase differently depending on their values and norms. For instance, some cultures might view proposing new ideas as disrespectful or inappropriate, while others may encourage it. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the cultural context when using idiomatic expressions like “bring forward” in different settings.

Practical Exercises for the Idiom “bring forward”

In order to enhance your understanding of the phrase “bring forward”, it is important to practice using it in various contexts. The following exercises will provide you with practical examples that can help you become more familiar with this idiom.

Exercise Description
1 Create a dialogue where two people are discussing a meeting they have scheduled. One person suggests bringing the meeting forward, and the other person responds.
2 Write a paragraph about an event that has been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. Use “bring forward” to explain when the event has been rescheduled for.
3 List three situations where you might use “bring forward” in conversation or writing. Write a short sentence for each situation using the idiom correctly.

By practicing these exercises, you will gain confidence in using “bring forward” appropriately and effectively. Remember to pay attention to context and tone when incorporating idioms into your language usage!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using the Idiom “bring forward”

Avoiding Confusion with Other Phrasal Verbs

One of the biggest mistakes people make with “bring forward” is confusing it with other phrasal verbs that have similar meanings. For example, “bring up” means to raise a topic for discussion or consideration, while “bring on” means to cause something negative or unpleasant. To avoid confusion, always check the context and meaning of the sentence before using “bring forward.”

Using Incorrect Tenses

The tense used with “bring forward” can also be tricky. The correct form depends on whether you’re talking about something in the past or present/future. If referring to a past event, use “brought forward.” If referring to a future event or proposal, use “bringing forward.” Using the wrong tense can lead to confusion and misinterpretation.

  • Mistake: I will bring forward my idea at yesterday’s meeting.
  • Correction: I brought forward my idea at yesterday’s meeting.

Misusing Prepositions

The preposition used after “bring forward” is another area where mistakes often occur. The correct preposition depends on what is being brought forward – an idea/proposal (to), a date/time (by), or a person (for). Using the wrong preposition can change the meaning of the sentence or make it sound awkward.

  • Mistake: I will bring forward my idea by John’s birthday.
  • Correction: I will bring forward my idea to John before his birthday.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll be able to use the idiom “bring forward” with confidence and clarity in your communication.

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