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Example:

I had to pluck the remaining glass [...] the window frame.

What's the correct choice and why?

  • As written it does not make sense. Do you mean "I had to pluck the remaining glass [...] the window frame?. A window by itself would be understood to be intact. – user3169 Mar 15 '15 at 3:48
  • We "pluck the feathers from a chicken" or "pluck a chicken" (pull out its feathers) but we do not "pluck a window frame". However, we do "pluck shards of glass from a window frame". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 15 '15 at 15:47
  • to pluck suggests a firm pincer-like grip but also some gingerness. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 15 '15 at 15:53
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"From" is the only correct choice from the three you offered, but you could also use "out of" (note, one "f").

I don't think there's any rigorous reason why; it's just the way native speakers would say it. That said, the glass in a window does sit inside the frame, so removing it necessarily involves taking it from inside to outside, or out of the inside to the outside.

P.S. I wouldn't typically use "pluck" in this situation (I'm assuming it's a broken window, where most of the glass has gone, and you're left dealing with the pieces still stuck in the frame). "Pick" might be better, or just "remove".

  • but isn't the meaning of pluck to remove by "picking"? – alexchenco Mar 15 '15 at 3:58
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    It can be, but it's more specific than that. It suggests either chickens ("plucking feathers"), or something hard to catch, like an idea ("He plucked an idea seemingly out of nowhere"). "Pluck" is certainly not wrong, but unless you had a specific reason, I'd avoid it in this context. – tkp Mar 15 '15 at 4:05
  • To pluck means to remove something quickly by using 2 or 3 fingers but the action is often forceful, so you can pluck a chicken, pluck flowers, pluck a harp, pluck your own hair out. But it doesn't seem to fit the often painstaking action of removing glass from a window frame--so it would seem out of place if you used it in this case. See the ODO. Anyway, pick is similar to pluck, but the latter is more specialized. – user6951 Mar 15 '15 at 4:28

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