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General Writing and Grammar Help/HAVE a hold on someone - GET a hold on someone

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Question
Dear Ted:

Do you say, "to HAVE a hold on someone" or "to GET a hold on someone"?

If both are possible, do they mean the same thing?

If not, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:


Do you say, "to HAVE a hold on someone" or "to GET a hold on someone"?

If both are possible, do they mean the same thing?

If not, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

*** Look what I found:

s there any difference between "to have a hold on someone" and "to get a hold on someone"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo
Sparky
1662 posts
May 23, 2013
6:35 AM    Paolo, where did you hear this? This is not a common idiom, at least not one I'm aware of. I think "to have a hold on someone" would mean to be in a position where they are under obligation to you, or where you can blackmail them. I think this is more commonly expressed as "to have a hold over someone."

I would not use "get a hold on someone" as it sounds too much like "get a hold of someone" which means to contact them.
paok70
1081 posts
May 23, 2013
7:04 AM    Dear Sparky:

I heard this idiom in an episode of Millennium, an American TV series of some time ago.

Paolo

**** I agree with "Sparky."  "Have a hold on" reminds me of wrestling, when one wrestler places another wrestler "in a hold."  That kind of "hold" is an uncomfortable position, so if John has a hold on Jim, John is exerting control over Jim.

I question the use of "GET a hold on someone."  The usual expression is "GET a hold OF someone," which means you are trying to establish contact with that person.

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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