Advanced English Grammar



Phrasal Verb HOLD

The phrasal verb hold, like all English phrasal verbs, has a variety of forms and definitions.

Study the list below and do the exercise that follows. Then check your answers for the phrasal verb hold.

HOLD AGAINST = have a grudge; show little respect

Why on earth do you hold it against her? Forget about it.

HOLD BACK = A. not show emotion B. prevent from progressing or moving forward C. not disclose or make public

A. He tried to hold back his tears while watching the sad movie but couldn't.
B. Some school children are held back a grade in elementary school.
C. The politician held back the information about his drunk driving arrest when he was younger.

HOLD BACK FROM = not allowed to do something

John was held back from going to the movies by his mother.

HOLD DOWN = A. keep or have a job B. prevent from moving by restraint c. retain in your stomach

A. It's hard to hold down a job in uncertain economic times
B. Jill was held down by her big brother John.
C. I couldn't hold down my lunch when we went sailing in the evening.

HOLD FORTH = state your opinions about something

John is holding forth about socialism's benefit again. What a bore!

HOLD OFF = A. delay B. bad weather NOT appearing C. prevent someone from attacking or beating you

A. We had to hold off buying a new car this year as John lost his job.
B. The snow held off long enough for us to get all of the wood ready for the winter.
C. The police held off the violent crowd with tear gas.

HOLD ON = A. wait B. grip tightly

A. Hold on a minute, I'll be right there.
B. Get a good hold on the handle before you give it a pull.

HOLD ONTO = A. keep longer than necessary B. hold tightly; grip

A. My father-in-law likes to hold onto old newspapers for some odd reason.
B. Hold onto the rope and it'll pull you up the hill.

HOLD OUT = A. resist B. extend in front of you

A. The union strikers held out until they go what they wanted.
B. At school we had to hold out our hands so they could inspect our fingernails.

HOLD OUT FOR = wait for something better

Why aren't you eating dessert? I'm holding out for the chocolate mousse.

HOLD OUT ON = not disclose; not pay

Don't hold out on me now. Tel me where you were last night.

HOLD OVER = A. delay B. go longer than planned

A. The surprise was held over until the next day at school.
B. The play got held over for the third straight week.

HOLD TOGETHER = not break up or come apart

The book was held together with duct tape down the binding.

HOLD UP = A. delay especially when travelling B. Robbery (a bank hold up, etc.)

A. We were held up in the city center by a huge traffic jam.
B. The store was held up by two men wearing masks.

HOLD WITH = A. agree or accept

She doesn't hold with people living together before they are married.

Phrasal Verb HOLD exercise


1. I have a friend who was held ____ in the third grade because he was so small.
2. John held ____ Jill until she cried 'uncle.'
3. He held _____ for 5 hours about the importance of conservation.
4. The play was held ____ for an addtional week becasue it was so popular.
5. We were held ____ by traffic again. I hate it when the trains are on strike.
6. You better not be holding ____ me. If I find out you are, you're in trouble.
7. This family is held ____ by love, respect and mutual understanding.
8. The football player held ____ more money.
9. Professor Jona doesn't hold ____ the notion of students having 'asylum.'
10. Don't eat that now. Why don't you hold ___ until dinner time?
 Your score is  

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