Student or Learner
Today in the English class my teacher said we use hold on while we want to mean wait during the phone but otherwise we say 'hang on' to mean wait. Is this correct?
Since what I got from the dictionary is that you can use both while you are on the phone and you want to mean wait and while in other occasions you want to say wait. Am I correct?
1 to hold sth tightly: Hang on tight—we’re off!
2 (informal) used to ask sb to wait for a short time or to stop what they are doing: Hang on—I’m not quite ready. Now hang on a minute—you can’t really believe what you just said!
3 to wait for sth to happen: I haven’t heard if I’ve got the job yet—they’ve kept me hanging on for days.
4 (informal) used on the telephone to ask sb who is calling to wait until they can talk to the person they want: Hang on—I’ll just see if he’s here.
5 to continue doing sth in difficult circumstances: The team hung on for victory.
Last edited by Daruma; 28-May-2009 at 15:18.
1 (informal) used to tell sb to wait or stop wait: Hold on a minute while I get my breath back. Hold on! This isn’t the right road.
2 to survive in a difficult or dangerous situation: They managed to hold on until help arrived.
3 (informal) used on the telephone to ask sb to wait until they can talk to the person they want: Can you hold on? I’ll see if he’s here.
I regard "hang on" as a bit more informal than "hold on".
"Hold" is associated more with telephones perhaps because telephones have a specific "hold" button to silence the connection while the caller is waiting. Thus, "Can I put you on hold?" is a common question for an office secretary to ask the caller when she or he wants them to wait a moment. That may have something to do with why your teacher thinks it is more likely for people to use "hold on" while talking on the telephone.
"Hang" also has other associations as slang for "chill" or "relax". People "hang out" with one another in a social situation. This is probably why I regard "hang on" as more informal than "hold on" and may affect which situations people are likely to use it.
As others have noted, "hang on" and "hold on" do have the same meaning and can be used interchangeably in most situations.