• Who is older than 18, please step forward
  • Who is older than 18, please make a step forward
  • Who is older than 18, please take a step forward

Is there any difference between step, take a step, and make a step?

Which is more natural?

  • 2
    That's not how native speakers issue such "polite requests". Anyone who is over 18, please step forward would be natural. In a more authoritarian (military?) context, ...[please] take a step forward would be far more likely. To make a step forward would be idiomatically unusual, except maybe in the context of a fearful "tip-toe" towards potential danger (or @Adam's advance almost imperceptibly towards one's goal). Commented May 13, 2017 at 17:25
  • 2
    BTW, we have said whoever in that construction for a few centuries now. who is not grammatical there.
    – TimR
    Commented May 13, 2017 at 17:39

2 Answers 2


"Make a step forward" is a slightly awkward use of an idiom meaning "make incremental progress towards a goal."

"We have a long way to go before we have eradicated homelessness, but every year we make small steps forward."

"Step forward" or "Take a step forward" mean move one leg out, and step onto it.

"When you hear your name called, step forward, and you will be presented with a golden avocado."

Also: "Who is 18, step forward." is still awkward due to the first clause. I would expect to hear either "Anyone who is 18, step forward." or "Everyone who is 18, step forward."

  • I'll add that to my question Commented May 13, 2017 at 17:25
  • Of course, outside of the army parade drill context, step forward implies each participant will take multiple steps (up onto a stage, perhaps). And with rows of theatre seats / bleachers / whatever you could still be invited to step forward even though it's physically impossible for you to take a step forward (until you've inched sideways to the aisle at the end of your row). Commented May 13, 2017 at 17:32

'make a step' forward seems fine in cases like

1) when there is some foot session involving instructions like, "turn left and make/take a step forward(backward)". "now take a step backward and jump"

2) signifying progress towards some ascertained goal, like "for every opportunity I get, i make/take a step forward in the direction(to something)

While , 'step forward' is generally fine in all other scenarios

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .