#65 – TO HOLD DOWN


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www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/hold-down

Transcript
Hello everybody! Here’s Luke. It’s Monday. It’s time for a Phrasal Verb. And today’s Phrasal Verb is TO HOLD DOWN.
Hold, of course, is something you do with your hands when you grip something. There’s a few different uses of this phrase as per usual.

The first one literally means to put your hands on someone and put pressure on them so the can’t get up or that they can’t move. So, for example, the police might arrest a criminal and they would put him on the ground and HOLD him DOWN.
Or if someone attacked you and your friends managed to stop them and they kind of got him on the floor and HELD him DOWN until the police arrived.
TO HOLD someone DOWN

Another one is TO HOLD something so that it doesn’t move upwards.
For example, when you go for a picnic, you put your blanket down on the floor and you might put some stones on each corner just to HOLD it DOWN. To make sure that the blanket doesn’t blow away, you put some stones down TO HOLD it DOWN.

You also talk about that one when you’re using the computer, like:
– HOLD DOWN the shift key and press enter,
– HOLD DOWN control and shift and press the space bar,
– HOLD DOWN the space bar and press the number four,
– And while you’re HOLDING that DOWN you’ve got to press ‘j’ and ‘p’,
– And HOLDING those keys DOWN you’ve got to spell the word
SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS. And if you can do that, your computer will literally melt.
Slightly ridiculous example. If you’re transcribing this, good luck with that one.
TO HOLD something DOWN.

Another one – and this is to prevent someone or prevent something from developing. Or to prevent someone from doing what they want.
– She proved that being a woman wouldn’t HOLD her DOWN.
– I hate living in this small town. It’s like everyone’s just HOLDING me DOWN. Everyone’s just holding me back.
You might hear this one in the Beatles’ song that sounds a bit like this: …
What was that lyric? He said: “I used to get mad at my school. The teachers who taught me weren’t cool; HOLDING me DOWN, turning me round, building me up with your rules.” So there Paul McCartney is talking about how he hated his school because everyone was… he felt like the teachers were HOLDING him DOWN, (not) preventing him from sort of being who he wanted to be. That track by the way is called “Getting better” and it’s of the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ Album.

There’s more. To stop prices on numbers from rising. For example:
– The government introduced the measure in order TO HOLD DOWN prices, to try and control inflation, to try and HOLD DOWN the rate of inflation.
– The airline wants TO HOLD fare increases DOWN.
– The government failed to HOLD spending DOWN – meaning to kind of limit spending.

There’re some nouns that are often used with that phrasal verb in that sense so you can HOLD DOWN a cost, HOLD DOWN an increase, HOLD DOWN inflation, HOLD DOWN prices, HOLD DOWN a rate or HOLD DOWN wages.

And then finally we have – to stop someone having their freedom or rights. Well it’s similar to Paul McCartney example. – The regime had been HOLDING its people DOWN for years. I wonder what it’s like living in North Korea. I wonder if people’s freedom is really HELD DOWN in the way that we imagine it to be.

We also say TO HOLD DOWN a job – meaning to succeeding in keeping a job, to manage to keep a job.
– My brother never manages TO HOLD DOWN a job for more than six months.
It’s not completely true, it’s just an example. James, if you’re listening…

So that’s it for this one. Hope you enjoyed it. It’s getting better, isn’t it? Thanks again for listening. There’ll be another one of these tomorrow, but for now – it’s goodbye.
The Beatles – “Getting Better” – Lyrics Below

LYRICS
It’s getting better all the time

I used to get mad at my school (No I can’t complain)
The teachers who taught me weren’t cool (No I can’t complain)
You’re holding me down (Oh), turning me round (Oh)
Filling me up with your rules (Foolish rules)

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get more worse)
I have to admit it’s getting better (Better)
It’s getting better since you’ve been mine

Me used to be angry young man
Me hiding me head in the sand
You gave me the word, I finally heard
I’m doing the best that I can

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get more worse)
I have to admit it’s getting better (Better)
It’s getting better since you’ve been mine
Getting so much better all the time
It’s getting better all the time
Better, better, better
It’s getting better all the time
Better, better, better

I used to be cruel to my woman
I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved
Man I was mean but I’m changing my scene
And I’m doing the best that I can (Ooh)

I admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get more worse)
Yes I admit it’s getting better (Better)
It’s getting better since you’ve been mine
Getting so much better all the time
It’s getting better all the time
Better, better, better
It’s getting better all the time
Better, better, better
Getting so much better all the time

  • María José

    P.S. I absolutely love The Beatles!

  • María José

    Luckily I´ve never seen a fight where people need to be held down.
    If you hold down this key for more than 3 seconds, the computer will shut down.
    If I stay here so much longer I´ll have the impression that something is holding me down to here, and I don´t want that to happen.
    It looks like you are going to hold down the job for a long time!

  • kamil

    It’s still getting better! I was strolling about the city listening to this podcast and when I heard this song I literally started singing it! And then I was singing so loud that some pedestrians knocked me down and were holding me down till the Police arrived. They had though I was crazy! I told the Police that I’m nuts about the Beatles Does it even makes sense to you?::D The Polish Government has to hold the rate inflation down. It can’t no longer be like that. As per usual, I’m rambling like a crazy person! Anyway, I don’t give a darn about it!

  • Tatjana

    It’s getting better :):) Many thanks Luke!!!

  • Martin

    Yes, I admit it´s getting better, it´s getting better with phrasal verbs….