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Today I was trying to overtake a car and it hit me from the side, I fell on the ground and the car went over my bicycle. It took some time to pull out the bike from under the car because it got stuck.

"Pull/move out" has a completely different meaning. So my question is how to say that properly.

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    I hope you're not too badly hurt.
    – James K
    Jan 4 at 7:36
  • 1
    I'm totally fine. It's just a little bruise on my knees.
    – Orio
    Jan 4 at 8:13
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    I think "pull the bike out" sounds fine. Alternative: "remove the bike from under the car"
    – user253751
    Jan 4 at 15:12
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    While "pull out" may have other meanings, your intent is clear in this context.
    – Barmar
    Jan 4 at 16:14
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    I don't understand the concern about other meanings to "pull out". Is this a perhaps a reference to birth control, or aviation? (There's got to be some kind of convoluted joke involving the "mile high club" and a near-death experience here...) Anyway your phrasing seems basically fine although I would tend to say "It took some time to pull the bike out from under the car". Jan 4 at 17:04
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The correct answer is basically what you already had, pull out.

It took some time to pull out the bike from under the car because it got stuck.

That is perfectly acceptable. I would probably move the object (the bike) closer to the verb though:

It took some time to pull the bike out from under the car because it got stuck.

You can also replace out from with just from if you want a shorter sentence, but I think out from sounds like a bit harder work, which is probably what you want.

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It took you some time to extricate the bike from under the car.

Merriam Webster defines "extricate" as "to free or remove from an entanglement or difficulty" and notes that it "implies the use of care or ingenuity in freeing from a difficult position or situation," which is exactly why it took you some time to remove from under the car.

Another option would be "disentangle," or, less precisely but also more casually, "extract."

You could also just simply say that it took some time to get the bike out from under the car. Of the above options, including the ones in the question, I'd probably use "pull the bike out" or "get the bike out" as a matter of preference if I didn't want to say "extricate."

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    It sounds too formal, and the given context is rather casual Jan 4 at 9:14
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    Another option would be "disentangle," or, less precisely but also more casually, "extract."
    – Ryan M
    Jan 4 at 9:16
  • as a native speaker, do you see a problem with pull out/take out/remove? Jan 4 at 9:33
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    @AndrewTobilko I probably wouldn't use "take out" because it almost seems to imply that it wasn't that hard, but the other two seem fine. You could also just simply say that it took some time to get the bike out from under the car. Of those options, I'd probably use "pull the bike out" or "get the bike out" as a matter of preference if I didn't want to say "extricate."
    – Ryan M
    Jan 4 at 9:37
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    @John what's cultural imperialism worth, if not to make sure everyone else knows what we're talking about?? :D
    – RonJohn
    Jan 6 at 14:49
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I would use the word: Dislodge

verb (used with object), dis·lodged, dis·lodg·ing.

to remove or force out of a particular place:
example: to dislodge a stone with one's foot.

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    Nice, but I think the word is usually used more in the sense of removing something to get it out of the way, rather than to retrieve it. (Which is not necessarily unfitting, just perhaps not the ideal word choice.) Jan 5 at 18:55
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    "Dislodge" suggests to me a situation where most of the effort is just getting something tightly stuck to start moving at all, and then once moved a little it can more easily be moved away.
    – aschepler
    Jan 5 at 20:21
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Informally I would just say "It took some time to get my bike out from under the car", but you do then lose some context around how you got it out.

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Honestly, I would say don't try to be clever and try to find fancy words you don't know. Just write it in whatever way feels natural to you.

Why?

Because the police / insurance companies / other interested parties will almost certainly come back and question you for further details, no matter what you write.

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    Hello Little Code and welcome to ELL! Please note that we don't give life advice here, we just help with vocabulary and grammar. Also remember that the person asking is learning English and so they don't know the "natural" way to put it. They are asking us what the natural way is. Not trying to discourage you! Just letting you know. P.S. If you have good advice to give there are several other Stacks that will be grateful. E.g. interpersonal.stackexchange.com Jan 4 at 17:32
  • @Monica My point is what was wrong with the OP just writing " I had to move my bike that went under the car in a crash" like they stated ? That's a perfectly reasonable English statement for what happened. No need to be more clever than that. Jan 6 at 10:10
  • That's fair enough and would be an answer. However you have to say it explicitly as a statement. For example your answer might be: The sentence "I had to move my bike that went under the car in a crash" is a perfectly reasonable English statement. Therefore you don't need to change it. If you put it that way, you have made a clear answer that other people can agree or disagree with. They can decide to up-vote or down-vote your answer and they can comment and ask questions and suggest improvements or whatever. ;-) Jan 6 at 11:34
  • P.S. 1. It's best to explain why you have given a particular answer, so your final note is not out of line. 2. You can still edit the answer if you wish. You are allowed to edit answers. We discourage editing questions too much because changing a question can invalidate answers that others have already given. Jan 6 at 12:14
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One word that would be readily understood and used by native speakers is retrieve:

Merriam-Webster includes the definitions:

rescue, salvage

and

to get back again

Both of which are appropriate for your purposes

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  • I see retrieving as implying more of a distance traveled to get it, rather than pulling something out in the immediate vicinity. It definitely could work, it just wouldn't be the first word I'd think of.
    – oldtechaa
    Jan 6 at 16:40
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Your best option would be "to pull the bike out…"

As so often in English, there is nothing specifically wrong with "pull out the bike" but it is clearly unidiomatic, largely because it is awkward.

Terms like "dislodge" or "extricate" complicate the issue without addressing the original dilemma and "retrieve" carries extra and irrelevant connotations.

Let's be sure, neither the initial "Today I was trying to overtake a car and it hit me from the side, I fell on the ground and the car went over my bicycle…" nor the closing "… because it got stuck" add anything useful.

When you say "Pull/move out" has a completely different meaning, what different meaning is that, please?

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