Hold up vs. Hold on

Now, we wanna delve into the little differences and similarities between these two phrases. Well, shall we begin our journey? C'mon.

"Hold up" vs. "Hold on" in the English Grammar

What Is Their Main Difference?

Both are verb phrases. We use both to make someone stop. However, 'hold on' mostly indicates a warning, whereas, 'hold up' is more casual.


Their main difference is that we mainly use 'hold up' when we want to warn someone. 'Hold on' is mostly used in more casual situations. Also, one has 'up' as the preposition, whereas, the other one has 'on' as the preposition. Look:

Hold up Hannah, what's going on?

Hold on, did you just say we got married last night?


Basically, we use either of these verb phrases to stop someone. Look:

He said: 'Hold up. I wanna make sure I turned of all the lights.'

Hold on, who did you say got you into this?

Are They Interchangeable?

Many native speakers use these two interchangeably. However, it depends on the context. Compare:

✓ 'Hold up, Jack', she said. 'Let me check up on the baby.'

✓ 'Hold on, Jack', she said. 'Let me check up on the baby.'


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