Yank, pluck, pull off, tug

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New Member
Hello, I was watching the tv show Game of thrones when a character said.

-The wind yanked trees from the ground...

I looked up what yank means and I found out it means to pull, one thing led to another and I realized there are several ways to say pull ''Yank, pluck, pull off, tug''
So I decided to make this topic to clear my mind a little bit, first of all, are all these words commonly used or some of them are too formal or old-fashioned? I will write a few sentences and I would like somenone to tell me which verb should be used.

-I yanked/plucked/pulled off/tugged one hair.
-She yanked/plucked/pulled off/tugged a root from the dirt.
-The dentist yanked/plucked/pulled off/tugged my tooth.

Just one more thing, do all these verbs implie that whatever is being pulled will be separated from what it was stuck to by the end of the actions?
  • bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    "Tug" does not imply that the item was removed, but the pluck and yank do. If you "pull something" you separate it from where it was attached; you pull it out. If you "pull on something," then it may be that this something stays in place.

    "Yank" suggests a more violent or vigorous motion than merely "pulling"; to some extent, "pluck" does too. "Pulling" can be harder or softer, more violent or gentler; I would argue that this is also the case for "tug."


    Senior Member
    English - England
    'Pull off' doesn't work in any of these sentences, but:

    I yanked/plucked/tugged one hair. Here, 'yanked' and 'tugged' mean more or less the same thing - and neither necessarily results in the removal of the hair. 'Plucked' means the hair was removed, as does 'yanked out'.

    She yanked/plucked/tugged a root from the dirt. Here, they all mean that the rood came out of the ground.

    The dentist yanked/tugged my tooth. 'Plucked' doesn't work here. 'Tugged' is OK, but the most natural would be 'He yanked my tooth out'.



    New Member
    Thank you for both replies, I have two more questions regarding this matter, can pull be used as a noun to mean the same as tug? rather than saying -I felt a tug at my leg. Is it correct to say -I felt a pull at my leg.

    And last thing, I have heard people say

    -I pulled the top off the bottle.
    -I Pulled the top off the carrot.

    I would like to know if it is correct to say

    -I pulled off the top of the bottle.
    -I pulled the top off of the bottle.
    -I pulled off the top of the carrot.
    -I pulled the top off of the carrot.

    Tha's all all, I hope I din't ask too much haha.
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