My two-year-old kid recently started to speak English and it made me happy and worry in the same time because I could teach her wrong English.

I often ask her ''can I hold you?'' means that I want to cuddle her. She mimicked it last night said ''hold you? hold you?. She meant that she wanted me to pick her up and swing her for night sleep. I corrected her that ''hold me up''.

Am I wrong? Should she say ''pick me up'' ?

I'd appreciate any help. Thank you:)

  • 1
    Thy both sound right; you should be in the clear.
    – Sean
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 14:48
  • As a native North American English speaker, "hold me up" sounds quite strange and not correct. However, @Sean says it sounds fine, which makes me wonder if it is a dialect thing. Commented May 15, 2018 at 14:51
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    You can hold a child while you are lying down or sitting. It means to support the child close to your body. To pick a child up means to lift the child from the floor or elsewhere, whether to hold the child or to place the child somewhere. Hold me up suggests lifting the child up and continuing to hold the child. Commented May 15, 2018 at 15:15
  • @TheSquareCow I am also a native English speaker and both phrases are used around very often (neighbors, other people). While pick me up may sound better, both should work fine.
    – Sean
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 15:15
  • @Sean on second though, "hold me up" does sound fine to me particularly if it is so the child can reach some object. Commented May 15, 2018 at 16:06

1 Answer 1


There are some small differences in the phrases:

"Pick me up" – lift me off the ground, for some reason.

"Hold me up" – hold me with outstretched arms.

"Hold me" – hold me close to you (hug me).

If your child is learning and speaking English as the local language from a young age, you should not worry. She will learn it very well from her friends and classmates – far better than someone learning it as a second language in later life.

  • Thank you for the answer! We don't live in a native english speaking country. My husband and my first languages are different, so that we speak English as our common language. Do kids say ''hold me up'' or pick me up'' to mothers? In japan, young age of children prefer to use only one word to refer what they want. In this case, they would say just ''Dakko''. Commented May 16, 2018 at 6:16

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