ESL Phrasal Verbs

Explanations of several "hold" phrasal verbs, with a printable worksheet.

click here to download this ESL phrasal verbs worksheet (FREE!)


“Hold” Phrasal Verbs - Definitions

hold (it) against (someone): to ‘hold a grudge’; to stay angry at someone for a long time because of something they did in the past; to blame someone and stay angry at them.

· I know you’re angry that the police officer gave you a ticket, but don’t hold it against him. He was just doing his job.

· Craig said some really mean things to me on Saturday night, but he was under a lot of stress, so I guess I shouldn’t hold it against him.


hold (x) down: to keep a job

  • Brett has always struggled with addiction. He has never been able to hold down a job for more than a month or two.

hold on (or: hang on): to wait briefly; to “wait a minute”

  • Hold on! I’m talking on the phone right now. I’ll talk to you in a minute.
  • I’ll help you with your homework after I finish making dinner. Just hold on a few minutes.

hold out (for): to continue resisting; to continue waiting for something; to refuse to reach an agreement with someone for an extended amount of time (you use “for” when you want to say “why” someone is holding out—for more money, for a better option, etc.)

  • The striking workers are holding out for higher wages. They refuse to return to work until their demands are met.
  • The baseball star is refusing to sign a contract with his team. He is holding out for more money.
  • I want to buy that new computer, but I think I will hold out until the price comes down a little.

hold up (or: stick up): to steal money from a person, business or bank, usually with a weapon (gun, knife, etc.)

  • The criminal was sent to jail for 10 years for holding up the convenience store.
· I was held up at knifepoint (or gunpoint) last night! It was the most terrifying experience of my life!

“Hold” Phrasal Verbs - Worksheet

Fill in the blanks with the correct words to complete these “hold” phrasal verbs.

1. I don’t think I’m going to renew my contract with the company yet. I think I
deserve more money. I know it’s a bit risky ___________________ for more
money, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

2. Pat: We’re going to go to the beach now.

David: I just have to write two more sentences in this paper. If you guys can
_______________ for two minutes, I’ll go with you.

3. Lilian: What will you do if you lose your job? Do you have anything to fall back

Jeff: No, I don’t have a college degree, and I don’t have much work experience. I
don’t know what I’ll do. Maybe I’ll ________________ a convenience store!

Lilian: That’s not funny!

4. Last week I made a stupid joke about Claire’s weight when she was talking to
the guy she likes. She’s still mad at me. I don’t think she’ll ever forgive me.
She’s going to ________ that _________ me for the rest of my life!

5. My mom said that if I can prove that I’m responsible enough to
_______________ a job for one year, she’ll buy me a car.

6. Everyone else in the class has agreed to pay $5 to go on the field trip, but Beth
still hasn’t agreed. Why is she _______________?

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