English Phrasal Verbs

Practice your English with Caroline Brown


In today's lesson we are going to look at using the verb 'to hold' combined with particles. Here are some more of the most common expressions:

'to hold back' means to restrain or stop something working.

  • High rates of tax are holding back economic growth.
  • He could easily get promotion if he were more a team player. His attitude is holding him back.

'to hold back' can also mean to not say or do something.

  • I wanted to tell him but something held me back.
  • Although she didn't agree, she held back and didn't say anything.

'to hold down' means to stop something increasing.

  • Government is trying to hold down public spending.
  • We have to hold down costs if we want to increase our margins.

'to hold down' also means to keep a job even if it is difficult.

  • There are lots of women who hold down high powered jobs and have children.
  • She was holding down a very responsible position when she was only twenty-three.

'to hold off' means to delay doing something or delay making a decision about it.

  • That house won't be on the market very long. Don't hold ;off making an offer.
  • You can't hold off much longer, you have to give him an answer.

'to hold on' means to wait for a short time.

  • Let's see if he arrives. We can hold on a couple of minutes.
  • We can't hold on much longer, we're going to miss the train. We'll have to go without him.

'to hold on' is used frequently on the phone to ask people to wait a few moments.

  • I'll just check that for you if you'd like to hold on.
  • Could you hold on please while I see if he's available?

'to hold out' means to put something in front of you.

  • He was very formal. He held out his hand for me to shake it.
  • She held out her glass so that I could refill it.

'to hold out for' means to wait for what you want and not accept less.

  • They were on strike for a long time. Holding out for a 10% increase in salary.
  • I think we should hold out for a better price. House prices are beginning to rise again.

'to hold up' means to delay something.

  • The construction was held up by bad weather.
  • Jim was late again. He got held up in heavy traffic on the motorway.


exercise 2

exercise 3

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