Today we are looking at phrasal verbs that inspire us to continue something . . . even when we want to stop. To do so, we are using three phrasal verbs that mean “continue”: keep on, carry on, and go on. Use these to inspire yourself or your friends to keep on when they lose motivation!

Phrasal Verbs for "Continue"

Phrasal Verbs for “Continue”

Keep on

“Keep on” means “to continue.” It is typically used to talk about a habit.

  • I have to keep on studying for another hour or so before I can go to the beach.
  • If you keep on practicing your phrasal verbs, you will memorize them all in no time!
  • Have you been keeping on with your yoga practice?

Another use of keep on is the expression “keep on keepin’ on.” This means to continue, despite something bad that happens.

  • I’m so sorry that you didn’t get the job you interviewed for. You just have to keep on keepin’ on and you will find another!


Carry on

“Carry on” also means “to continue,” but it has a much different connotation. This phrasal verb was printed on posters and used before World War II in Great Britain to remind citizens to “keep calm and carry on” despite recent attacks on their country. Although this is a very serious association, today the slogan is used by many companies, sometimes in a joking manner, and the phrasal verb is replaced by a silly suggestion (see the photo below).

  • Are you going to carry on with your English lessons after you move back to your country?
  • I cannot carry on with my gym membership once I move to the other side of town, so I canceled it. 

“Carry on” also means “go back to what you were doing” after you have interrupted someone who is in the middle of an action.

  • What are you guys doing? Studying? Oh, OK. Carry on!
Well, if you insist . . .

Go on

“Go on” is used for “continue” as well.

  • Even after we left the Giants game, we went on singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
  • Will  you go on watching the movie after I leave? 
  • I can’t go on without my roommate! I will miss her so much! (Dramatic)

“Go on” can also mean “please keep talking” after someone stops speaking in the middle of a sentence.

  • “I just don’t want to . . . “
  • Go on.”
  • “. . . I don’t want to leave SD!”


NOTE: notice how each of these phrasal verbs is followed by a “with/without + a noun” or by a gerund. 

Cover photo source.

Poster photo source.