Should I Hold Through a Pullback, or Get Out

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Get hold of, get ahold of, get a hold of

Under what circumstances would you prefer one of the following over the other two?

  1. Get hold of
  2. Get ahold of
  3. Get a hold of

5 Answers 5

The three variations of this expression exist and are acceptable.

The meaning actually depends on what follows of, so get hold/ahold of someone means communicate with/reach someone and get hold/ahold of something means obtaining/literally reaching out for something. And I believe they convey the same meaning, with “get ahold of” being spoken English (apparently because it’s easier to pronounce) for “get hold of” and “get a hold of” being specifically used for physical actions.

“Get ahold of” doesn’t exist. “Get hold of” and “Get a hold of” are mostly interchangeable, but “get hold of” is more often used with people “get hold of Mr. Jones and tell him. ” and “get a hold of” is used with things, like gaining expertise “I think I’ve finally gotten a hold of this subject. “

EDIT OK, new information: ahold does exist, but it’s a slang.Thanks, @NewAlexandria

I think that grammatically speaking, get a hold of yourself doesn’t make much sense – and in fact it seems to me that people originally recognised this.

That linked NGram chart shows how the more “logical” get a hold on yourself was actually more common when both expressions started becoming widespread in the 20s. And this one shows that plain get hold of yourself has always been more common than either version with the word “a”.

Whilst I don’t disagree with other answers saying that “get ahold of yourself” is “incorrect”, that link to over 15000 written instances shows that in the minds of many, it really is a kind of “adverb” that gets round the inherent grammatical problem in what’s now an established idiomatic usage. Somewhat akin to, for example “Get along with you!” (meaning “Go away!”, “Be off with you!”).

EDIT: Per comments below, I would just note this one semantic distinction.

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1: “I’m trying to get hold of John” (to locate, contact, communicate with him)
2: “I’m trying to get a hold on John” (to physically grasp him, or metaphorically understand him)

There’s a certain amount of flexibility in the above constructions (dialectally, at least, #1 could use ahold, and it could carry the sense of #2). But the #1 make contact sense always needs of, and if you try replacing hold with grip, grab – with or without preceding get [a] – it should be clear that idiomatically, certain forms either don’t work at all, or have restricted (probable) meanings.

Phrasal verbs

This list of phrasal verbs is by no means complete. It is a guide to phrasal verbs that should be familiar to a person making an attempt at an FCE exam. If you want to learn phrasal verbs, you should always try to use them, not just memorize . Make sentences with phrasal verbs, try to find non-phrasal synonyms, try to make lists of phrasal verbs connected with a particular topic (eg. travelling: to set off, to see sb off, to pull in/up, to take off etc.) or use any other exercise that will make you think.

Czasowniki oznaczone s± symbolami:
(intransitive) – czasownik nieprzechodni, np. look out (no object!)
(transitive) – czasownik przechodni, np. look after sb/sth

Get hold of, get ahold of, get a hold of

Under what circumstances would you prefer one of the following over the other two?

  1. Get hold of
  2. Get ahold of
  3. Get a hold of

5 Answers 5

The three variations of this expression exist and are acceptable.

The meaning actually depends on what follows of, so get hold/ahold of someone means communicate with/reach someone and get hold/ahold of something means obtaining/literally reaching out for something. And I believe they convey the same meaning, with “get ahold of” being spoken English (apparently because it’s easier to pronounce) for “get hold of” and “get a hold of” being specifically used for physical actions.

“Get ahold of” doesn’t exist. “Get hold of” and “Get a hold of” are mostly interchangeable, but “get hold of” is more often used with people “get hold of Mr. Jones and tell him. ” and “get a hold of” is used with things, like gaining expertise “I think I’ve finally gotten a hold of this subject. “

EDIT OK, new information: ahold does exist, but it’s a slang.Thanks, @NewAlexandria

I think that grammatically speaking, get a hold of yourself doesn’t make much sense – and in fact it seems to me that people originally recognised this.

That linked NGram chart shows how the more “logical” get a hold on yourself was actually more common when both expressions started becoming widespread in the 20s. And this one shows that plain get hold of yourself has always been more common than either version with the word “a”.

Whilst I don’t disagree with other answers saying that “get ahold of yourself” is “incorrect”, that link to over 15000 written instances shows that in the minds of many, it really is a kind of “adverb” that gets round the inherent grammatical problem in what’s now an established idiomatic usage. Somewhat akin to, for example “Get along with you!” (meaning “Go away!”, “Be off with you!”).

EDIT: Per comments below, I would just note this one semantic distinction.

1: “I’m trying to get hold of John” (to locate, contact, communicate with him)
2: “I’m trying to get a hold on John” (to physically grasp him, or metaphorically understand him)

There’s a certain amount of flexibility in the above constructions (dialectally, at least, #1 could use ahold, and it could carry the sense of #2). But the #1 make contact sense always needs of, and if you try replacing hold with grip, grab – with or without preceding get [a] – it should be clear that idiomatically, certain forms either don’t work at all, or have restricted (probable) meanings.

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