When push comes to shove

Idiom (also if push comes to shove)

When all the easy answers to a problem have not worked, and something else must be tried:

Only a few people were there to help me when push came to shove.

Cambridge Dictionary

The English equivalent of the Dutch saying

“Als punt bij paaltje komt” is

“When push comes to shove” or 

“When it comes down to it.”

It is used to convey the idea that, in the end or when the situation becomes critical, decisive action or a clear choice will be made.


When matters become critical; when a decision needs to be made

in American English
if push comes to shove

When or if matters are ultimately confronted or resolved; when or if a problem must be faced; in a crucial situation

If push comes to shove, the government will impose quotas on imports


The expression “When push comes to shove” encompasses several key points:

  1. Critical Situation: The phrase is used to describe a moment of truth or a critical situation where decisions or actions must be taken.

  2. Decision Time: It implies that a situation has reached a point where it demands a resolution or a firm decision.

  3. Pressure or Difficulty: The use of “push” and “shove” suggests a sense of pressure or difficulty, indicating that the circumstances have become challenging or demanding.

  4. Revealing True Intentions: It often implies that people’s true intentions or reactions become apparent when faced with a challenging situation.

  5. Action is Inevitable: The expression suggests that, ultimately, action or a decision is unavoidable. It emphasizes the need for decisive steps or choices when confronted with difficult circumstances.

Overall, “When push comes to shove” encapsulates the idea that in challenging or critical moments, individuals must take action and make decisions to navigate through the situation.


9 jan 2024 #ThisMorning

It’s the scandal still dominating the headlines after the new ITV Drama ‘Mr. Bates vs the Post Office’ has shone a light on the terrible miscarriage of justice in which dozens of innocent sub-postmasters were wrongfully convicted and lost everything. Today, we’re joined by one of the real people whose shocking story was told in the drama – Jo Hamilton, alongside the star who played her Monica Dolan.

Broadcast on 09/01/2024


2 Post Office Lawyer Jarnail Singh CUTS ACROSS Jason Beer KC

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13 feb 2024

Post Office Lawyer Jarnial Singh CUTS ACROSS Jason Beer KC as he corrects his witness statement to the Post Office Inquiry.

Jason Beer KC requests multiple times that former Post Office Lawyer Jarnial Singh allows his to complete a question before delivering an answer.

In addition to corrections to his statement, Sir Wyn Williams delivers Mr Singh a warning against self incrimination and confirms that he does have a lawyer at the Post Office Inquiry.

The most significant correction is with his ‘limited’ relationship with Gareth Jenkins becoming much more substantial.

3 Post Office investigator challenged over failure to follow up on ‘glitches’ in Horizon IT system

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Little Girls Taking Tequila Shots Prank

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18 jul 2018