I read a sentence in a book, "Word Power Made Easy" which was:

I do not wish to press a point unduly, but it is possible that you have learned more new words in the short time it took you to cover the chapter than the average adult learns in an entire year.

Most of the sources contained "the" in place of "a" in the idiom. So it got me into thinking whether the "a" version would be acceptable?

1 Answer 1


Both press the point and press a point are established expressions.

To press the point means to emphasise/stress/underline the speaker's view on a subject that is already clear to both parties, as in:

This is the unpaid bill and, while we do not wish to press the point unduly, it does need to be settled this week.

On the other hand, to press a point generally refers to an issue that has yet to be defined.

She said she did not wish to press a point but she would be grateful if we would be more prompt in future.

In many cases, either of the two expressions would serve.

In the quote you give, the indefinite article a works better as the writer has not yet specified the issue.

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