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The first 2 pictures show hangnails and the 3rd picture show dead skin.

I think people say "to pull out hairs" (source from dictionary) because a hair has its root (maybe about 1 or 2% of the hair length) plucked in the skin of our head. Because it is "in", so we pull it "out".

But do we say "pull out the hangnail/ dead skin" or "pull off the hangnail/ dead skin"?

For example, "don't pull out/off your hangnail/ dead skin because you might get your finger bleeding. Leave it alone."

Also we have the structure "get somebody/something + adj." (meaning, to reach a particular state or condition; to make somebody/something/yourself reach a particular state or condition) (1)

For example, "He got his fingers caught in the door."

And the structure "get somebody/something to do something" and "get somebody/something doing something" (meaning, to make, persuade, etc. somebody/something to do something) (2)

For example, "I finally got Michael to talk" and "It's not hard to get him talking".

Is "you might get your finger bleeding" a correct expression?

If it is, then which one (1 or 2), does it fall into?

I am not sure if the present participle "bleeding" an adjective.

Do we say "you might get your finger to bleed"?

  • 1
    No, we say 'you might make your finger bleed'. To get something to do something usually implies that you want to make it happen. Jan 11, 2021 at 9:25
  • @KateBunting, but "He got his fingers caught in the door." implies it happened by chance. Is it possible that "bleeding" is an adjective? so that we can say "He got his finger bleeding".
    – Tom
    Jan 11, 2021 at 12:30
  • 1
    Caught is something that happened to the fingers, not something they did. If the action is intentional, get is followed by a verb in the infinitive or present participle. "My fingers were numb with cold, but I managed to get them to work [or] get them working." "He got his finger bleeding" is not idiomatic, but it would imply that he was trying to make it bleed. Jan 11, 2021 at 14:26

1 Answer 1


You do not pull out skin or nails because it is not something that is in the body, but on the body. However, hair is somewhat in the head (meaning it is not only on the outside of the head), and that's why you pull them out.

Pull off is correct when talking about pulling off skin or nails.

Pull out is correct when talking about hair, eyes etc. that is in the body.

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