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Posted by Grant Richardson, 2nd August, 2015
In a lift (or ‘elevator’ in American English), you press the button to go to a particular floor level of a building, or to hold the lift door open. Example:
“Please press level 8”
Or, you might say:
“Please press the button to hold the door open”
In a home, you might flip a large switch to switch on the electric hot water heater.
“Please flip the switch for the hot water (heater)”
However, normally a switch is almost flat, such as for the light. So flipping doesn’t sound quite right. Example:
“Please switch on the light”
To which someone might reply:
“Where’s the light switch?”
A button goes in and out, so you press it.
A switch goes up and down, so you flip it, or switch it on or off.
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