[Grammar] Usage of 'hold on to'

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daemon99

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The power went off when I was climbing up the stairs. It was pitch dark and I couldn't see a thing. I held on to/held the railing while walking up so I didn't slip off.

Can someone please tell me if the above paragraph makes sense? Have I used held on to correctly? Can it be replaced with gripped on to/grasped on to? What's the difference between hold on to and hold?
 

emsr2d2

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The power went off when I was climbing up the stairs. It was pitch dark and I couldn't see a thing. I held on to/held the [STRIKE]railing[/STRIKE] handrail while walking up so I didn't slip off.

Can someone please tell me if the above paragraph makes sense? Have I used held on to correctly? Can it be replaced with gripped on to/grasped on to? What's the difference between hold on to and hold?

You can used "gripped the railing", yes. You don't really need to say "gripped on to...".

The only difference (in this context) between "hold" and "hold on to" is that "hold on to" suggests that you are doing it for safety reasons. Most people would probably hold the handrail (or the bannister) when walking up or downstairs, just from habit, but if you "hold on to" or "hang on to" it, it suggests a stronger grip.
 

daemon99

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Thanks a lot, emsr2d2! I hope slip off and went off have been correctly used. Would you recommend any better expressions in their place?
 

emsr2d2

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Thanks a lot, emsr2d2! I hope slip off and went off have been correctly used. Would you recommend any better expressions in their place?

The power "went off" is fine. I would probably simply say "slip" when talking about being on a staircase. We also "trip up/down" the stairs when we mean "to stumble".

If you actually "fell off/slipped off" a staircase, I would think that you had fallen over the side of an open-sided staircase.
 
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