“We’ve seen this movie before. The top economists at the International Monetary Fund — the global agency created after World War II to promote stability and growth in the world economy — unveil their latest forecast, which is almost always weaker than its previous forecast. The economists hold out the possibility that world growth will improve if the most important countries, including China and the United States, adopt sensible policies and cooperate with one another.”


Why does the writer use “hold out the possibility” instead of “hold the possibility”? I fail to see the difference between these two expressions according to the definition of “hold out”.

Hold out:

1 : to present as something realizable : proffer


  • Have you considered the difference in meaning between 'hold' and 'hold out'? – Michael Harvey Nov 10 at 11:51
  • yes,but I can not see the difference. Could you help? – luxury20041985 Nov 10 at 22:38

To hold out means to offer, as the dictionary says. If I hold a dollar bill, it is in my hand, I possess it. It's in my hand. That's all. If I hold out a dollar bill to someone, e.g. by extending my arm, I am offering it to that person. To hold out a possibility is to offer it as a possible opportunity for consideration or action. To 'hold a possibility' does not make sense in that context.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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