pull over / pull up + car related verbs

Discussion in 'English Only' started by jjshell, Sep 20, 2007.

  1. jjshell Member

    France - French
    I'm having a hard time understanding the various use of the verb pull when related to cars.

    "to pull up" means "to come to a halt, to stop" correct?

    Does "pull over" imply an idea of coming to a halt, or just to move on one side of the road.

    What are the other meanings of "pull" that I should be aware of when it comes to car?

    thanks in advance :)
  2. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    You might want to read this previous thread about similar words:


    "Pull up" can mean a few things. "He pulled up to the stoplight" would mean that he approached it and stopped. "He pulled up to the building" would mean that he approached the building (usually slowly) and stopped the car in front of it; it could mean that he parked the car or that he simply stopped in front of it. "He pulled up alongside me" would mean that he approached me from the side and matched speeds with me if I was moving or stopped if I was stopped.

    In other words, I think there is always some aspect of approaching something else with the phrase "pulled up", which is more than just "stopped." For example, "he pulled up the car" would sound odd and would not mean "he stopped the car."
  3. jjshell Member

    France - French
    So "pull up" carries an idea of movement before the car actually comes to an halt. But if I say: "the car pulled up", do I sound weird?
  4. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    If you don't say what it pulled up to, it would sound weird, at least to me. The sentence needs to indicate what it pulled up to in order to sound complete. If you simply said, "The car pulled up" you'd probably get an immediate reaction of "pulled up to what?"
  5. jjshell Member

    France - French
    Are "pulled up to the sidewalk, pulled up near the building, pulled up in front of the store" acceptable examples?
  6. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    We wouldn't use "sidewalk" normally, usually "curb" (or, as bibliolept pointed out in another thread, "kerb" in BE).

    I think we'd normally say "pulled up next to the building", not "near". "Near" is a bit vague for the image of approaching something.

    "Pulled up in front of the store" is perfect. :thumbsup:
  7. Macunaíma

    Macunaíma Senior Member

    Um ninho de mafagalfinhos
    português, Brasil
    JamesM, your definition of pull up as approach rather than stop was very helpful indeed. Forero's theory about the origin of these phrasal verbs on the other thread was also incredibly helpful, as in most cases phrasal verbs seem to mean nothing to English learners (what, for instance, get round to sth has to do with finding the time to do sth?). There always seems to be a metaphor involved:

    JamesM mentioned that pull up must be followed by a destination or a physical obstacle to which one pulls up. What if it is omitted? Take this sentence as an example: "A taxi has pulled up outside. Has anyone ordered one?" Have I misused pull up in this sentence?
  8. hy003002 Member

    Alexandria, Egypt. Arabic
    I have copied the following from a dictionary:
    pull in
    to reach a place; arrive: The train pulled in early.

    pull out

    to leave; depart: The ship pulled out of the harbor.
    pull over
    to direct one's automobile or other vehicle to the curb; move out of a line of traffic: The police officer told the driver to pull over.
    pull up

    to bring or come to a halt.

    I hope it will help.
  9. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    No, that looks perfect to me. :)

    It is interesting how it uses either a specific thing or a relative position, such as "he pulled up next to my car" or "he pulled up alongside/behind/in front of me".

    For example, "an unmarked car pulled up across the street about an hour ago" would work for me (particularly in a detective story ;) ).

    I suppose it needs some location or some specific object. It's one of those things that remains unexamined until someone asks an interesting question such as yours.

    Thinking more about it, it can be used without a destination, location or object in some cases.

    "Hey, look! A taxi just pulled up. What timing!"

    This is more complicated than I thought. It can be used by itself, but it seems like it depends on the context.
  10. hy003002 Member

    Alexandria, Egypt. Arabic
    I think I have made a mess of every thing. I just tried to help. I copied from a dictionary. I will try to put it right.
  11. tinlizzy

    tinlizzy Senior Member

    USA - English
    These are a few additional car related pulls.

    In my old car I had to pull up the brake- the emergency or hand brake in the center between the seats.

    When I was little it was either pull up and put down (or visa versa) the window, because they had cranks.

    I'm short so I always have to pull up the seat in a car.
  12. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    Are you sure about this? I remember "roll up/down the window" from those days long gone. :)

    Slightly off-topic, but the famous Beloit College mindset list that gives a few points about the incoming American freshman class for each year had a note on this very subject. It said that incoming freshman have probably never rolled a car window down in their lives.
  13. tinlizzy

    tinlizzy Senior Member

    USA - English
    I remember roll up and roll down, also:). But my father always said pull up or pull down the window. His father owned a car lot so maybe his use of "pull" came from the cars in his childhood? I can't ask him but I found this...

    Window Strap
    Predecessor to the window crank. A strap attached to the base of a window allowing the window to be pulled up. The strap has a series of holes that can be hooked on an inside pin to hold the window at various levels.
  14. jjshell Member

    France - French
    So: "the car pulled up to the curb" clearly means that the car approaches the curb and stops next to it, correct? Would the sentence "the car pulled up alongside the curb" be better?
  15. Dr. Benway Senior Member

    Spain. Spanish.

    Thread bump.

    If someone's driving a car, I'm on the passenger seat, we're approaching my house and I want the driver to stop the car so that I can get off of it, what would I say to the driver?

    Pull up over there?

  16. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    I would just say "pull over here (, please)."
  17. Dr. Benway Senior Member

    Spain. Spanish.
    The simpler, the better.
    Thank you, James!
  18. Gabriel Malheiros Senior Member

    Portuguese - Brazil
    James, would it sound odd to say "pull up here"? If I am at a bus stop and I tell my brother: "My friend is gonna pull up here and pick us up" Would "pull over here" be better in thai situation?

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