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Git Error: Pull is not possible…

Christina Kopecky - October 14, 2020

When we use git, sometimes we come upon confusing errors. This article aims to take a look at one common error when using version control and provide a possible solution.

Look at this error:

Pull is not possible because you have unmerged files.
Please, fix them up in the work tree, and then use 'git add/rm <file>'
as appropriate to mark resolution, or use 'git commit -a'.

The Problem

This error occurs when we have files with unresolved conflicts in our working directory. We need to take a look at the files, make sure to fix any merge conflict, then stage and commit the file to mark it resolved.

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The Solution

The first thing to do with this particular error is use the command line and git status . This will tell you where your unmerged files are – it will look something like the following:

Unmerged paths: 
	use 'git add/rm <file>' to update what will be committed
	[ list of files ]

If you are working on your project with a partner, conflicts are the result of something he or she may have written. You want to go over the merge conflicts with your partner to be sure you don’t accidentally get rid of any important code.

Once your merge conflicts are resolved, you can then run git add/rm <file> or git commit -a

You can now run git pull origin [master | main | <name-of-branch>] to pull changes from your remote repository.

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Christina Kopecky

About the author: Christina is an experienced technical writer, covering topics as diverse as Java, SQL, Python, and web development. She earned her Master of Music in flute performance from the University of Kansas and a bachelor's degree in music with minors in French and mass communication from Southeast Missouri State. Prior to joining the Career Karma team in June 2020, Christina was a teaching assistant, team lead, and section lead at Lambda School, where she led student groups, performed code and project reviews, and debugged problems for students. Christina's technical content is featured frequently in publications like Codecademy,, and Educative.

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