When you wear a shirt, you tuck your shirt in your pants. But you move violently and one part of the shirt's hem creeps out from the pants and looks very untidy.

How do you describe the untidy shirt? The goal is to make him noticed and let him tuck the shirt's hem back in again. What I can think of is sentences such as your shirt came out, your shirt is untidy, etc. How do you usually say?

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    I see no mention yet on this page of what I'd consider by far the most common phrasing associated with this - Your shirt (tail) is hanging out! Often accompanied by the imperative instruction Tuck it in! Jun 9, 2020 at 13:11

1 Answer 1


Almost all verbs that are used for putting together clothing have an opposite verb with the prefix un-. Examples include buckle/unbuckle, zip/unzip, tie/untie, button/unbutton, and tuck/untuck.

Many of these verbs come as phrasal verbs with an accompanying preposition (e.g., to tuck in). The opposite un- verb does not use a preposition. Examples:

Button up your coat. Unbutton your coat.

Your fly is zipped up. Your fly is unzipped.

Your shirt is tucked in. Your shirt is untucked.

If you want to emphasize that the un- is something that happened by accident, then you can use the auxiliary verb to come or to become (using come sounds more idiomatic to me as an American English speaker). For example:

Use a double knot or your shoes will come untied.

Your shirt has come untucked.

If you say, "Your shirt is untucked," then this includes the possibilities that he never tucked it in the first place or that he deliberately pulled it out. Using, "Your shirt has come untucked," says that you believe this happened spontaneously without him noticing.

Finally, a notable exception to this pattern is the phrasal verb to put on, which has the opposite to take off (unput is not correct).

Put on your sweater. Take off your sweater.

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