General Writing and Grammar Help/Hold onto - hold on to

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Question
Dear Ted:

Would you please explain the difference between "to hold/hang ON TO something/someone" and "to hold/hang ONTO something/someone" with some examples?

For instance, should I use "hold/hang on to" or "hold/hang onto" in the following sentences?

1) Hold onto/ on to the branch until I come with a ladder.

2) It's really windy today, so hold onto/on to your hat!

3) Hang onto/on to the lifebuoy: we'll be there in a minute.

4) Hang onto/on to that rope and don't let go.  

5) Claude moaned, and hung onto/on to Tom's shoulder.

Also, when I want to use one of the two prepositional phrases figuratively as in the examples below, which should I use?

1) Politicians hold onto/hold on to their post.

2) He holds onto/on to his money and doesn't allow anyone to share.

3) You should hold onto/on to your oil shares.

4) He is desperately hanging onto/on to his job.  

BTW, is it correct to call them "prepositional phrases"?

Thank you very much for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Would you please explain the difference between "to hold/hang ON TO
something/someone" and "to hold/hang ONTO something/someone" with some examples?

*** Paolo, I thought I sent you a kind of chart that shows the difference between the two.  In fact, I thought I sent it to you just yesterday.  Here is the link:  

http://data.grammarbook.com/blog/definitions/on-to-vs-onto/

For instance, should I use "hold/hang on to" or "hold/hang onto" in the
following sentences?

1) Hold onto/ on to the branch until I come with a ladder.

*** ON TO

2) It's really windy today, so hold onto/on to your hat!

*** ON TO

3) Hang onto/on to the lifebuoy: we'll be there in a minute.

*** ON TO

4) Hang onto/on to that rope and don't let go.  

*** ON TO

5) Claude moaned, and hung onto/on to Tom's shoulder.

*** ON TO

Also, when I want to use one of the two prepositional phrases figuratively as in
the examples below, which should I use?

1) Politicians hold onto/hold on to their post.

*** ON TO

2) He holds onto/on to his money and doesn't allow anyone to share.

*** ON TO

3) You should hold onto/on to your oil shares.

*** ON TO

4) He is desperately hanging onto/on to his job.

*** ON TO

BTW, is it correct to call them "prepositional phrases"?

*** YES

Since all of your examples require "hold on to," here are a couple that use the single word "onto" --

The teacher was ONTO Jack's cheating.  [aware of]

The man stepped OUT OF the hot air balloon's cage ONTO the ground.

As the moderator announced each of their names, the political candidates stepped ONTO the stage.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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