A fight. Mark has knocked down a man. Then...

Mark grabs him, lifts him (up)/picks him up, and throws him into a wall.

Question: Can I use both "lifts" and "picks" here or is one more natural to use when lifting/picking up something as heavy as a man?

  • 2
    They're both fine, and in your context they'll be understood as meaning exactly the same thing. It's just a stylistic choice, where arguably picks more emphatically conveys that Mark is very strong and / or his opponent isn't all that heavy (you commonly pick up all sorts of things that weigh very little, but lifting implies considerable weight). Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 18:03

1 Answer 1


You can lift someone up without picking them up.

pick up implies completely off a surface. No point of the object or person would be touching the ground or other surface.

He lifts him up (which does not mean completely) by making him stand on his feet.

Pick up, literally, would mean lift him above his head or completely off the ground. Doubtful.

However, you can pick up a baby or child.

Throws him against a wall.

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