Continue and “Continue on”
Ralph Mielcarek writes:
Please explain: Is the phrase CONTINUE ON — giving advice or instruction, considered redundant, or will CONTINUE suffice?
The phrase “continue on” generally triggers a blackboard moment for me.
I accept the use of the “on” in a statement such as
Talks continue on the topic of global warming
but I see no use for “on” for a statement such as
The children may continue on with their search for leaves.
The entry for continue on in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage acknowledges ongoing objections to the phrase:
A half dozen or more commentators from Ayres 1881 to Chambers 1985 have dismissed “continue on” as a redundancy, with the “on” considered (usually) superfluous. Ayres himself found the “on” to be “euphonious” in some expressions, but superfluous in others. Later commentators seem to have missed the euphony. One, however, Safire 1984, defends the expression when applied to travel.
The entry concludes:
If you are one of the few who use “continue on,” you may keep right on using it. And if you do not use it, of course, there is no reason to begin.
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