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  • Hello, this is Melanie Brown from Central Bank. Can I speak to Mr. Clark?
  • Please (hold on / hang on) I'll put you through.

Which one - hold on or hang on - is the more appropriate, frequently used, or correct? Are they interchangeable in British and American English?

  • Possible duplicate of What is the difference between "hang on" and "hold on"? – Lordology Jan 6 at 9:27
  • @Lordology the user originally posted their question on that page, it is now deleted, evidently, the answers did not help them. Furthermore, the OP is not asking about the difference in meaning, In light of this, I have broadened the scope slightly and included the full phrase. – Mari-Lou A Jan 6 at 9:30
  • @Mari-LouA Thank you. – Lordology Jan 6 at 9:31
  • To keep a telephone connection open. "Please hang on, I'm putting you through to our customer service department." – Rafał Ratyński Jan 6 at 9:41
  • @RafałRatyński If you had included the research BEFORE asking the question that would have been helpful, and made the question more interesting/intriguing. Keeping a telephone connection open has a different meaning and usage from the one discussed in the older question – Mari-Lou A Jan 6 at 10:53
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hang on is informal:

hang on
2 informal wait for a short time: hang on a minute—do you think I might have left anything out?
• (on the telephone) remain connected until one is able to talk to a particular person.
-- New Oxford American Dictionary

Also, when speaking on the telephone, hang on can easily be confused with hang up.

To maintain a formal tone, use:

Please hold.

The on is not necessary:

please hold
Please remain on the telephone line until someone is available. Please hold while I see if Mrs. Smith is available. A: "Hi, is Jane there?" B: "Please hold."
-- Farlex Dictionary of Idioms

  • To keep a telephone connection open. "Please hang on, I'm putting you through to our customer service department." I think "hang on" is more appriopriate in this example than "hold on" as a telephone line and keeping a telephone connection open are concerned, isn't it? – Rafał Ratyński Jan 6 at 9:53
  • @RafałRatyński I don't think so and I gave you my reasons, supported by references. – michael.hor257k Jan 6 at 10:14
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    @RafałRatyński If you are already committed to your claim that hang on is more formal, then why did you post your question in the first place? – Jason Bassford Jan 6 at 17:27

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