kenji
I am not sure about the meaning of "hold" in this passage Since "hold" have broad meaning depends on context, I am bit confused with the following passage, "Mr. Pence vowed that the United States would ”hold Russia accountable, even as we search to make a determined decision or promise to do something for new common ground which, as you know, President Trump believes can be found.” He said the United States would hold Russia to its commitments to reach a permanent cease-fire in Ukraine." The first "hold" in "hold Russia accountable" means to recognize, and the second "hold" in "hold Russia to its commitments" means to think Russia should keep its commitment and act based on that idea, is my understanding correct? This passage is from this article, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/18/world/europe/pence-munich-speech-nato-merkel.html
Feb 19, 2017 9:37 AM
Answers · 5
Don't look at the word 'hold' at all - on its own, it has very little meaning. You have to look at the whole phrase. Think of these uses of 'hold' as collocations or set expressions: 'to hold someone accountable' means to blame someone or insist that they take responsibility. Look up the whole phrase 'hold someone accountable for something' in a decent dictionary and it will soon become clear. Likewise 'hold someone to something' is set phrase which you have understood correctly. It means he will insist that they act on their promise and fulfill their commitments. We often use this colloquially. For example, you might say to a friend who makes a rash promise, 'I won't hold you to it', meaning that you won't mind if they break their promise. The key to grasping how the English language works is not to analyse single words, but to look at whole phrases. This is especially the case with multi-purpose verbs such as 'hold', 'set', 'put' and so on. These words carry very little meaning of their own, but serve to support more meaningful words in set collocations.
February 19, 2017
Hello again, Kenji, "Hold accountable" is an idiom, and here (in both cases) it means to consider someone responsible for something. For example, "Mr. Pence vowed that the United States would ”hold Russia accountable, even as we search to make a determined decision..." means that, if Russia's actions in Ukraine lead to more fighting, the US will consider Russia responsible for the conflict. And when the article states "He said the United States would hold Russia to its commitments to reach a permanent cease-fire," it means that, because Russia made a commitment to reach a permanent cease-fire, the US considers Russia responsible to uphold the commitment it made (i.e. the US expects the Russians to honor their promises). Hope that helps.
February 19, 2017
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