Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you heard somebody use the phrase “pull up” or even “pull in”?

Does this type of phrase confuse you in English?

Do you want to know how to use these common and somewhat similar phrases in conversations when you talk about driving a car?

We’re going to show you the difference between these common phrases, and help you to understand when to use them properly.

Here’s a question about this that shows the common confusion.

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Hello ladies, I love your app! You are always my companion at lunch time.

I have a question about the expression “pull out”. I heard somebody use this phrase the other day trying to say somebody arrived. I’m a bit confused, and I didn’t understand it.

Thank you for your help,


Understanding Common Phrases That Can Confuse Natives

This is such a good question about a phrase that is used all the time.

Phrases like these are called phrasal verbs, and they can be confusing sometimes.

Natives use phrasal verbs correctly, but they can’t always explain it.

These have an important place in our vocabulary and conversations, but it can help to understand how to use them.

What is the difference between pull up, pull in, pull over?

These are all very common and they have differences that set them apart.

Using Phrases About Driving and Traffic

We’re going to look at four phrases that pertain to driving or traffic.

These are used quite often, and it can be helpful to know which ones to use when.

Here’s the common phrases and you will understand which one pertains to each situation.

  1. Pull Up: This is used when somebody just arrives. You may be waiting for your friend to come by and get you to go somewhere. You see their call arrive and that means that they just pulled up in their car. Just think of pull up as arriving in a car.
  2. Pull Out: This is the opposite of pull up when you break it down. This is to leave or drove away. You were in a driveway and then you pull out of it to leave. You also pull out of parking spaces–it essentially means to leave where you were at.
  3. Pull In: This is different than pull up because it’s usually when you are looking at a specific space to get into. Pull up is more general and you may not necessarily even turn off the car. Pull in is more specific and you are pulling into a parking space and staying there.
  4. Pull Over: This is when you are stopping, perhaps on the outside lane or shoulder of a road. You might use this the most because it can mean to “stop here”. It may be that you see a restaurant you want to go to and you tell the driver to pull over. If you are speeding and an officer stops you, ,then you have to pull over. There are several instances where you might use pull over, and so it’s the most common.

It can be confusing to have all of these phrasal verbs together, so try to have a mental picture in your head.

Have a vision or a mental picture for each phrase so that you know which one to use in which instance.


When you are driving, in traffic, or even just in a car there are several phrases that you can use in conversation.

Now that you see the differences between these phrases, it can be helpful to use them in conversation.

Practice using each one in the appropriate situation.

Remember to make mental pictures of each phrase so that you know which one is appropriate for the particular instance.

The more you practice using these phrases in conversation, the more natural they will become.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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