How Not to Continue On Unless You Continue on Friday
by Owen Fourie
Continue on to read this information.
Is this opening direction correct? To answer this question, let’s see when on can follow continue.
When can on follow continue?
The preposition on can follow the verb continue, and that is not a problem when it occurs in the way that it does in the examples below:
- Let’s stop the reading here and continue on page 43.
- We cannot complete this chapter today, so we’ll continue on Friday.
- Please move your homework out of the way and continue on the other table.
- Tomorrow, coverage of the Occupy movement will continue on Channel 13.
It is important to notice that, in each of these sentences, the preposition on is followed by the object of the preposition to complete a prepositional phrase.
What does the word continue mean?
Some synonyms will make this clear. Continue means to
- keep on;
- carry on;
- go on;
- press on;
- push on;
- move on.
Notice that the word on is already present as an adverb. When you use the word continue, you are expressing the idea contained in the word on when it is used as an adverb in these phrases.
Continue means keep on, carry on, go on; therefore, there is no need to use on as a necessary attachment to continue.
In the examples of prepositional phrases where you see on following continue, the word on is attached to the prepositional phrase, not to the word continue.
Repeating a couple of those examples will illustrate this point if we replace the word continue with the phrase carry on:
- Let’s stop the reading here and carry on on page 43.
- We cannot complete this chapter today, so we’ll carry on on Friday.
If we put continue back to replace only the word carry, the first on is redundant because continue already means to carry on.
- Let’s stop the reading here and continue on on page 43.
- We cannot complete this chapter today, so we’ll continue on on Friday.
Is the opening direction correct?
The opening direction falls into this error of redundancy. It should simply state: Continue to read this information.
Avoid saying or writing continue on unless on is a preposition followed by its object.
Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome. If you are puzzled about any aspect of grammar and correct usage, ask here for clarification.
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