In Russian there r words "вытаскивать" (basically it means to "pull off" something from something) & "вытягивать" (basically it means to "draw" something out of something), but in informal speech both of these words could be used figuratively to describe somebody who was the single person solved problem / resolved hard situation / made some job done / made something good etc. Actually it's not obligatory that it should be a single person, it could be a group of people, but it always used to differentiate somebody from other people involved in the described process. I know an idiom "to save the day" but it's not that close to what i look for.


  • Previous month at the job we had a very complex task, and nobody was able to deal with that. But John, as always, [...] the whole thing and we've managed to finish the project before the deadline.

    Here this word should mean that John finished the job, and nobody else was able to do that

  • First i don't liked Breaking Bad that much, cuz I'm not really in this drug thing. But Jesse and Heisenberg actually [...] this series. So they were the reason i kept watching.

    Here this word should mean that TV-series were good only because of specific characters, in contrast with other aspect*

  • Yesterday i was watching football - %Country% vs %Country%. And %Player's_Name% somehow [...] the whole match. I think most members of his team should share their wages with him, cuz they were doing nothing.

    Here this word should mean that one player was better than others and he did the most to bring victory to his team

In Russian language words i mentioned above could be figuratively used in all these examples. So i wonder if there r such word or collocation which can be used in the same manner in English. It's okay if there r different words for different examples I've written, just wanna know.

2 Answers 2


Interestingly enough, English often uses "pull off" for this as well. So for your examples:

  • But Jhon, as always, pulled off the whole thing

    (Although you may have a typo in "Jhon", which looks like it ought to be "John".)

  • But Jesse and Heisenberg actually pulled off this series.

    For this, you might use "redeemed" instead, which has the slightly different idea that they are the reason the series is saved from being bad. (Also, "these" doesn't agree with the singular word "series"; you need "this" instead.)

  • And %Player's_Name% somehow carried the whole match.

    Here "pulled off" is less appropriate. Instead, to emphasize the idea that he did it all himself, use "carry", which has a metaphorical sense of "carried the burden of making something work properly all on one's own".

"Pull off" has the implication that, perhaps despite expectations or through considerable difficulty, something was accomplished well. And just saying who pulled it off is enough to give the credit to them.

  • Big thanks for clarifying, i hardly appreciate that you pointed out my mistakes as well.
    – Markus_13
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 7:10

I think pulled off works well. You could also try rescue or save:

: to stop (something) from ending or failing : to make (something that is in danger of failing) successful

In the first example, you could say saved the whole thing. This would mean that the project was going poorly, but then John turned it into a success. You could also say John saved us and it would imply the same thing.

In the second example, it would mean something like the show was uninteresting in the beginning, but then the two characters made the show great, interesting, and kept your attention.

In the third example, it means that the team was struggling to defeat the other team, but [PLAYER] was able score enough points to win the game. On the other hand, save the game could also mean that [PLAYER] was able to protect the lead and win the game for his team if the team had the lead in a very close match. In either case, you could also say [PLAYER] saved his team.

  • I thought about "save" at first, but i believe that "save" has no this differential flavor, has it?
    – Markus_13
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 7:33
  • Sorry, I didn't understand "no this differential flavor".
    – Em.
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 7:35
  • I mean that "save" doesn't emphasizes the role of a person in contrast to others. Am i wrong?
    – Markus_13
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 7:36
  • Sorry, but i don't think that your example with tenants saving really fits here. I was looking for the word which will semantically emphasize the role of a person to clearly distinguish this person from others involved in some process. And i guess that "pull off", "redeem" and "carry" do that much more sharp than "save".
    – Markus_13
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 7:48
  • @Markus_13 Yeah, I see your point. I guess you could look at it like this: if John didn't exist, then the project would be ruined and the team would fail (in your example). Hence, John's contribution saved his team and the project, and so it is more important (or significant) than the contribution of the others. So his contribution is emphasized.
    – Em.
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 8:06

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