I hold him in high regard.

The court holds him responsible/liable.

She held it dear.

We hold these truths to be self evident.

This construction only seems to work with certain adjectives. Are these examples all set phrases or can it be used freely? Can I say "I hold that crazy" and make sense?


The first three examples demonstrate a phrasal verb (verb+particle) construction (given that "hold in" is used idiomatically and the meaning of "hold" is changed with the presence of the particle). Thus, the answer to your question is yes, this only works in situations when the idiomatic phrasal verb "hold in" is used. The final example is a different construction altogether.

So, to answer the final question, no, you can't say "I hold that crazy" because you are no longer using the phrasal verb "hold in." You could arguably try to say "I hold that in craziness" -- but this doesn't match with the actually meaning of the verb, so it's still inappropriate. (Note that I had to change "crazy" to its noun form because "hold in" is a transitive verb.)

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