I was teaching a kid how to take off his socks by pulling the leg down to the heel, then sliding the bunched up sock over his foot. Would the last step be better described as:

pulling the socks from behind


pulling the socks from backside

Which is better sentence out of the two? Why?

  • I'm a little unclear as to what you're asking (For example, I take my socks off by pulling from the toe). Could you clarify as best you can? – JMB Mar 20 '15 at 13:00
  • I taught the kid to pull the socks down from legs. – Aquarius_Girl Mar 20 '15 at 13:01
  • @TheIndependentAquarius Do my edits correctly convey your intent? – Adam Mar 20 '15 at 15:25
  • @Adam you wrote pulling the leg down to the heel, is that technically correct? or it should be pulling the leg of the socks down to the heel – Aquarius_Girl Mar 20 '15 at 15:54
  • 4
    Please note that "backside" has a very specific meaning that does not simply mean "the back part of something", and "pulling socks from the backside" is likely to convey a very different image from what you intended! – stangdon Mar 20 '15 at 17:13

The first -- "pulling the socks from behind" -- is better. As @stangdon says, the use of "backside" in the second version is ambiguous (it could mean the same as arse/ass). But even without that problem, it's simply the wrong word in that context.

But I actually think there's a third even better option: namely, "pulling the socks from the back". The reason is that your "from behind" in the first version is also ambiguous. It could be taken to refer to the position of the puller, rather than the position on the sock (on which to exert the pull). Of course context would show that it cannot be the puller's position -- how could you get behind yourself to pull down the sock? But "from the back" avoids the ambiguity anyway.


The way to phrase your first step, which you DID NOT ask about, would be:

  • Push your socks down at the back.


  • Push the backs of your socks down to the heel.

A way to phrase your "last step", which is the one you asked about:

  • Pull the whole sock frontward, past your toes.

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