‘Move Forward’: Definition, Meaning, and Examples

By Sophia Merton, updated on November 3, 2022

Have you heard someone use the phrase ‘move forward’ and you aren’t sure what it means? In this article, we’ll explore the definition, meaning, and examples of this idiom.

In a nutshell, ‘move forward’ means:

  • To ‘progress or advance in position’ either literally or figuratively
  • To cause something to progress or advance either literally or figuratively
  • To reschedule something so it occurs sooner than originally planned
  • To make something more modern

What Does ‘Move Forward’ Mean?

The phrase ‘move forward’ has a few related definitions, which are:

  1. ‘To progress or advance in position’
  2. ‘To cause something to occur at an earlier point in time’
  3. ‘To compel or cause something or someone to progress or advance in position’
  4. ‘To modernize’

In the second and third definitions listed above, a noun or a pronoun can be used in between the words ‘move’ and ‘forward.’

In relation to the second definition, you could either say, ‘we need to move forward the meeting’ or ‘we need to move the meeting forward.’

For the third definition, you could say, ‘we are going to need more funding to help the business move forward’ or ‘we are going to need more funding to help move the business forward.’

It’s worth understanding that another common and related phrase is ‘moving forward.’ This means ‘in the future.’ For example, if your boss says, ‘moving forward, we will be purchasing our office supplies from ABC Industries,’ it means that they are switching vendors for the foreseeable future beginning now.

‘Moving forward’ can also be a phrase used to transition between topics within a conversation. For example, if you and your coworker have been discussing a new work policy for a long time, one of you might say ‘moving forward’ in order to bring up another point and put an end to the previous topic of conversation. It can also imply that what is being discussed has been exhausted or completely picked apart, and it’s time to turn your attention toward more present matters.

Examples of ‘Move Forward’ In a Sentence

‘Move forward’ is a phrase that can refer to literally advancing in position or abstractly making progress. It can also be used in relation to time, such as making the decision to ‘move forward’ an appointment.

In some uses of the phrase, as we will see below, it is appropriate to use a noun or pronoun in between the words ‘move’ and ‘forward.’

Let’s take a look at how you can use this phrase in a sentence with a number of examples:

  • The house isn’t perfect, but I’m ready to move forward with the sale.
  • This breakup has been really difficult for me, but I think it’s time to move forward with my life.
  • He desperately wants to move the meeting forward on Friday so he can take the afternoon off.
  • It’s hard for us to move forward as a business when our employees are constantly cutting corners.
  • I am getting incredibly exhausted from all of these personal crises– I really feel like it’s time to move forward.
  • She was in awe when she watched the shepherd artfully move the sheep forward down the rural road.
  • Johnny wants to move forward with the housing development project, but nothing more can be done until the roofs are completely installed.
  • There is more I can say on this topic, but in the interest of time, let's move forward.
  • He wanted to ask the people in front of him to move forward, but he was so soft-spoken that his voice wasn’t heard over the sounds of the crowd.
  • This whole situation has been incredibly upsetting to me, but for the sake of our larger goals, I am ready to move forward.

In the following examples, we'll look at how 'moving forward' can be used in a sentence:

  • Moving forward, I'd like to label all of the boxes using a thick black marker, so it is more visible.
  • Sally had been enjoying delivering the products directly to the customer, but she received a memo from the CEO saying they would be outsourcing deliveries moving forward.
  • We're expecting to see home sale prices ease in their growth rate moving forward.
  • I am frustrated with rising prices too, but moving forward, what are we going to do to bring in more income?

If you are looking for a phrase that indicates moving on from something optimistically, you'll want to learn more about the idiom 'onwards and upwards.'

Similar Phrases

There are a number of related phrases that have similar meanings to ‘move forward.’ Before using these interchangeably, though, you’ll want to take the time to understand the subtle differences in their meanings. Otherwise, you might be communicating a slightly different concept than you intend to.

Here are some roughly synonymous phrases for you to consider if you don’t believe ‘move forward’ is the precisely right idiom for your purpose:

  • Bring forward
  • Move up
  • Promote
  • Advance
  • Progress
  • Go forward
  • Proceed
  • Continue on
  • Continue ahead
  • Forge ahead
  • Gain ground
  • Get ahead
  • Go forth
  • Move on
  • Move onward
  • Make headway
  • Push on
  • Press on

‘Move Forward’: Final Thoughts

‘Move forward’ is a phrase that is very versatile– it can be used to describe the act of advancing or progressing either literally or more abstractly.

For example, you can physically ‘move forward’ when you’re moving closer to the counter in a checkout line at the grocery store, but you can also ‘move forward’ with your life after you have been embroiled in a lengthy lawsuit that demanded most of your time and energy. On top of that, you can ‘move’ appointments, meetings, or other occurrences ‘forward’ in time by rescheduling them to happen sooner than initially planned.

Understanding the countless idioms and phrases in English can seem like an impossible hill to climb at first, but the task really does become a lot of fun once you get in the swing of things. The more phrases you learn, the more diverse and descriptive your writing and speaking becomes. You’ll find over time that you are better able to precisely convey your intended meaning, which is a truly delightful and thrilling experience!

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Sophia Merton
Sophia Merton is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Sophia received her BA from Vassar College. She is passionate about reading, writing, and the written word. Her goal is to help everyone, whether native English speaker or not, learn how to write and speak with perfect English.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.