Tuesday, May 26, 2015

(to) Hold Back

Here's a headline from today's New York Times:

In Targeting ISIS, U.S. Holds Back to Shield Civilians

Today's two-word verb is "(to) hold back."

Do you think it means:
  1. (to) hurry up
  2. (to) protect
  3. (to) refrain from?

Which sentence tells you what this means?
  1. American and allied warplanes are equipped with the most precise aerial arsenal ever fielded.
  2. But American officials say they are not striking significant — and obvious — Islamic State targets out of fear that the attacks will accidentally kill civilians. 
  3. Killing such innocents could hand the militants a major propaganda coup and alienate both the local Sunni tribesmen, whose support is critical to ousting the militants, and Sunni Arab countries that are part of the American-led coalition.
The answers are (c) and (2).


Here's another current headline:

Clinton’s Staff Held Back Emails Requested Under FOIA

By this meaning, would you say that Mrs. Clinton showed the emails requested under the Freedom of Information Act, or not?

The verb (to) hold back can also mean to not progress at a normal rate. We see it used this way referring to education. Here is an example:

What holds you back? #AForEffort: Held back by the education system

This is a question for all of us: What holds us back from doing the things we need to do?

You are invited to comment below.


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