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  1. #1
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    keep on and keep

    Dear teachers,

    Could you please explain the difference between "keep on doing something" and "keep doing something"?

    For example,
    He kept on working.
    He kept working.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: keep on and keep

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Could you please explain the difference between "keep on doing something" and "keep doing something"?

    For example,
    He kept on working.
    He kept working.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    There's no difference.

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: keep on and keep

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Could you please explain the difference between "keep on doing something" and "keep doing something"?

    For example,
    He kept on working.
    He kept working.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, Jiang.

    (1) Thank you for your fascinating question.

    (2) I found on Google a scholarly article entitled " 'Keep' and 'Keep on' Compared," by Dr. Bert Cappelle.

    (3) He says that in 95% of the cases, "keep" and "keep on" SEEM to be interchangeable in MEANING.

    (4) The professor points out, however, that they ARE different from a grammatical point of view.

    (5) This is my example -- NOT the professor's!!!

    Mr. Smith is the president of a company in country X. One day he

    walks into the office where 20 of his employees are WORKING. They, of

    course, immediately stand up out of respect. Mr. Smith says: Please

    do not let me disturb you. KEEP ON.

    Mr. Smith, however, could NOT say: Please do not let me disturb you. KEEP.

    (6) The professor submits that "keep on" is almost like a verb; "keep" is almost only an auxiliary.

    *****

    Thank you for your most thought-provoking question. I learned so much.

    Have a nice day!

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: keep on and keep

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    Thank you for your most thought-provoking question. I learned so much.
    So, did you come to a conclusion about jiang's question? That is, whether "Keep on working" means the same as "Keep working"?

  5. #5
    bertietheblue is offline Senior Member
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    Re: keep on and keep

    I can't see the difference. Maybe keep/keep on are interchangeable in most cases but one or the other is preferred in certain collocations. Don't know but just thought of 'Keep on truckin'' - you wouldn' say 'keep truckin'' or would you? And then there's all those crappy songs trapped in my head from the 80s: 'keep on runnin ...', 'keep on movin ...'

  6. #6
    sarat_106 is offline Key Member
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    Exclamation Re: keep on and keep

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (2) I found on Google a scholarly article entitled " 'Keep' and 'Keep on' Compared," by Dr. Bert Cappelle.

    (3) He says that in 95% of the cases, "keep" and "keep on" SEEM to be interchangeable in MEANING.

    (4) The professor points out, however, that they ARE different from a grammatical point of view.
    I agree

  7. #7
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Re: keep on and keep

    Hi TheParser,
    Thank you very much for your explanation. And thank you for your encouragement.

    He can't say "keep". Here "keep on" means "keep on working". Then he can also say "Keep working". Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Have a nice weekend!
    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, Jiang.

    (1) Thank you for your fascinating question.

    (2) I found on Google a scholarly article entitled " 'Keep' and 'Keep on' Compared," by Dr. Bert Cappelle.

    (3) He says that in 95% of the cases, "keep" and "keep on" SEEM to be interchangeable in MEANING.

    (4) The professor points out, however, that they ARE different from a grammatical point of view.

    (5) This is my example -- NOT the professor's!!!

    Mr. Smith is the president of a company in country X. One day he

    walks into the office where 20 of his employees are WORKING. They, of

    course, immediately stand up out of respect. Mr. Smith says: Please

    do not let me disturb you. KEEP ON.

    Mr. Smith, however, could NOT say: Please do not let me disturb you. KEEP.

    (6) The professor submits that "keep on" is almost like a verb; "keep" is almost only an auxiliary.

    *****

    Thank you for your most thought-provoking question. I learned so much.

    Have a nice day!

  8. #8
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is online now Moderator
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    Re: keep on and keep

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Hi TheParser,
    Thank you very much for your explanation. And thank you for your encouragement.

    He can't say "keep". Here "keep on" means "keep on working". Then he can also say "Keep working". Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Have a nice weekend!
    Jiang
    Exactly the point I was about to make. I would be very surprised if someone came in and said "Don't let me disturb you. Keep on." I would expect either "Carry on" which is fine as a standalone phrase, or "Keep working" or "Keep on working".

    In my opinion, for the original example, "keep" and "keep on" result in the same meaning.

  9. #9
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: keep on and keep

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Hi TheParser,
    Thank you very much for your explanation. And thank you for your encouragement.

    He can't say "keep". Here "keep on" means "keep on working". Then he can also say "Keep working". Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Have a nice weekend!
    Jiang
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, Jiang.

    (1) Thank you for your kind comments.

    (2) As you can see, your question has certainly made native speakers think more deeply about their language.

    (3) Yes, "Keep on" would = "keep on working," while it would sound very strange, indeed, if one simply said, "Keep." In that case, it would be mandatory to add "working."

    (4) As Teacher EMSR pointed out, in reality, most native speakers would probably not be that comfortable in saying "Keep on" without the -ing, but I personally think the workers would understand that there's a missing "working." The boss would simply wave his hand and command "Keep on."



    (5) That professor gave this example of "keep on" without a following

    verb:

    I think after the initial check's been made it's important to KEEP ON and maintain a check on it. ("Keep," he says, is not possible.)

    (6) That professor says that "keep on" = persevere, carry on (as Teacher EMSR said), not give up, continue.

    (7) One very nice poster also mentioned that collocation MAY play a part. His post was very informative and thought-provoking.

    (8) The professor so correctly wrote that this matter of "keep/ keep on" has been almost completely ignored by English reseachers.

    (9) I think his main point is: the dictionaries seem to equate "keep" and "keep on." He believes that this is too simple of an answer.

    (10) If you come across further information, please do share it with us.

    One is always learning more about his/her native language.

    Thank you.

  10. #10
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Re: keep on and keep


    Dear TheParser,

    Good morning!

    I feel very embarrassed when you said "Thank you for your kind comments". Actually they were not comments but questions. Since English is my foreign language I only feel safe when teachers give me a "Yes" or "No" answer. But I think I should learn to understand explanations and draw conclusion myself. But it is really hard.

    Thank you again for your help.

    Jiang




    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, Jiang.

    (1) Thank you for your kind comments.

    (2) As you can see, your question has certainly made native speakers think more deeply about their language.

    (3) Yes, "Keep on" would = "keep on working," while it would sound very strange, indeed, if one simply said, "Keep." In that case, it would be mandatory to add "working."

    (4) As Teacher EMSR pointed out, in reality, most native speakers would probably not be that comfortable in saying "Keep on" without the -ing, but I personally think the workers would understand that there's a missing "working." The boss would simply wave his hand and command "Keep on."



    (5) That professor gave this example of "keep on" without a following

    verb:

    I think after the initial check's been made it's important to KEEP ON and maintain a check on it. ("Keep," he says, is not possible.)

    (6) That professor says that "keep on" = persevere, carry on (as Teacher EMSR said), not give up, continue.

    (7) One very nice poster also mentioned that collocation MAY play a part. His post was very informative and thought-provoking.

    (8) The professor so correctly wrote that this matter of "keep/ keep on" has been almost completely ignored by English reseachers.

    (9) I think his main point is: the dictionaries seem to equate "keep" and "keep on." He believes that this is too simple of an answer.

    (10) If you come across further information, please do share it with us.

    One is always learning more about his/her native language.

    Thank you.

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