In my office email I asked my colleague of mine to work with a differen team member by using the following sentence: "Please get hold of xxxxx and create an account...."

I don't know this xxxxx person and I don't have any long history of working with him. My intention is to ask my colleague to work with this xxxxx person to get some account created.

The xxxxx guy was cc'ed in the email and he replied and said "Please get hold of xxxxx; Am I running away without sharing, what do you mean by these, it’s disrespectful."

I was stunned after I got that reply. Was I being disrespectful by using the sentence: "Please get hold of xxxxx and create an account...."

Thanks and appreciate your input.

  • That was probably an overreaction. Maybe he hadn't heard the phrase before; in that case, it might have seemed like you were treating him like an object or an animal that keeps running away. Maybe in the future you could say instead 'Please meet up with xxxxxx' instead of 'please get hold of'. – N A Feb 20 '16 at 10:19
  • 2
    I reject that, this is an overreach of political correctness that needs to disappear from the world. If it was an unknown phrase/saying, then that person needs to look into it, and maybe clear it up. Don't advise different phrases for correctness reasons - it is wrong, and shoddies, shades meaning which might not have been there initially. – Sakatox Feb 20 '16 at 10:57
  • 1
    There was nothing wrong or disrespectful with your English. There may be a backstory here about your colleague, or you and your colleague, or your colleague may not understand colloquial English. I suggest you think about the incident in the larger context and post a question on workplace.stackexchange.com – ab2 MonicaNotForgotten Feb 20 '16 at 13:23
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs on workplace.stackexchange.com – ab2 MonicaNotForgotten Feb 21 '16 at 2:01

The context clearly indicates that to get hold of was not used to mean to grasp (someone or something) physically.

It rather meant:

to ​communicate with someone, esp. by ​telephone

[Cambridge Dictionaries Online]

As commented by N.A., your colleague overreacted without knowing the meaning of the phrasal verb and its usage. There is nothing disrespectful using it in the context, however, if you had used "to contact", it would not have created such a reaction.

For further information on the phrasal verb, please read the previous question, Get hold of, get ahold of, get a hold of.

  • esp. by telephone is situational, and heavily biased towards some contexts than others. Get hold of means any form of communication, as you said first. Also, lack of a phrase isn't reason to PC everything up. – Sakatox Feb 20 '16 at 10:58

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.