I'm reading a story in English: it's not my native language. Two friends have fun together and make pancakes. Friends throw up pancakes in the air during cooking and have a contest: whose pancake will be higher.

“This means I win.”

“It does not! My pancake clearly went way higher than yours.”

“It had to land back in the pan, Chris.”

“Says who?”


“Nu-uh, you don’t get to pull that -”

“Well then get the damn thing off the ceiling fan then!”

I don't understand what does you don’t get to pull that mean here?


You have to understand the context to get a meaning of this first.

  1. One of the friends (Chris)' pancake got stick on the ceiling fan. That's the reason why he considered himself as the winner.
  2. The other friend (unnamed) says it's againts the rules of their game.
  3. Chris questiones his friend's judgement ("Says who?").
  4. And the other friend gives a very general/wide answer by saying "Logic."
  5. Since they haven't decided the rules of the game and there are no rules about sticking your pancake to the fan or the ceiling, Chris expresses himself by one sentence which might mean different things.

Now, there are possibilities but I will be explaining two.

  • Chris said "Nu-uh, you don’t get to pull that."

pull something: To carry out a deception or swindle: worried that his partners might be trying to pull something behind his back.

Which means, "No, you can't do that to me."

  • Chris said "Nu-uh, you don’t get to pull that off."

pull off: To accomplish in spite of difficulties or obstacles; bring off: pulled off a last-minute victory.

Which means, "No, you can't do that."

Basically, it depends on the context whether Chris' words are complete or incomplete due to flow of conversation.

  • The phrase “Well then get the damn thing off the ceiling fan then!” is the end of conversation. So what is option in this case? – Heidel Jul 12 '16 at 9:29
  • @Heidel Chris' friend ends the conversation by saying that. Do we know Chris intended to say that or was he going to say more? I think the second explanation I gave is possibly the better of the two. – apollo Jul 12 '16 at 10:58
  • Do we know Chris intended to say that or was he going to say more? No, we don't. Thanks a lot for the explanation! – Heidel Jul 12 '16 at 11:16
  • 2
    It is definitely the first option "to pull something", rather than "to pull something off". If it was the second option then Chris would have to say "You didn't manage to pull that off". – AndyT Jul 12 '16 at 11:41
  • 2
    @Apollo - Given the wording of your first definition, it does sound like something you wouldn't do to a friend, but I think that's just because of the wording chosen in your definition. In this particular situation, "to pull something" is very similar to "to get away with something". – AndyT Jul 12 '16 at 13:12

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