Meaning of “go on” in the English Dictionary

"go on" in British English

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go on

phrasal verb with go uk /ɡəʊ/ us /ɡoʊ/ verb present participle going, past tense went, past participle gone


B1 to happen:

I'm sure we never hear about a lot of what goes on in government.
This war has been going on for years.

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B1 to continue or move to the next thing:

Please go on with what you're doing and don't let us interrupt you.
[ + -ing verb ] We really can't go on living like this - we'll have to find a bigger house.
[ + to infinitive ] She admitted her company's responsibility for the disaster and went on to explain how compensation would be paid to the victims.
What proportion of people who are HIV-positive go on to develop (= later develop) AIDS?
If you go on (= continue behaving) like this, you won't have any friends left at all.

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B2 to start talking again after a pause:

She paused to have a sip of coffee and then went on with her account of the accident.
[ + speech ] "What I want more than anything else," he went on, "is a house in the country with a large garden for the children to play in."

informal something that you say to encourage someone to say or do something:

Go on, what happened next?

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C2 to talk in an annoying way about something for a long time:

He went on and on until I finally interrupted him and told him I had to go.
I just wish he'd stop going on about how brilliant his daughter is." "Yes, he does go on (a bit), doesn't he?"
I wish you'd stop going on at me (= criticizing me repeatedly) about my haircut.

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used when encouraging someone to do something:

Go on, have another drink.
"I don't really feel like seeing a film tonight." "Oh go on. We haven't been to the cinema for ages."

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informal something that you say in order to agree to do or allow something that you did not want to do or to allow before:

"Are you sure you don't want another slice of cake?" "Oh go on then, but just a small one."


to continue or pass:

Tomorrow will start cold but it should get warmer as the day goes on.
As the evening went on, it became clear that we should never have agreed to see each other again.

(Definition of “go on” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"go on" in American English

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go on

phrasal verb with go us /ɡoʊ/ verb present tense goes, present participle going, past tense went /went/ , past participle gone /ɡɔn, ɡɑn/

to continue:

I won’t go on working in this job forever.
Go on, tell me what happened next.
He could go on and on (= continue talking for a long time) about his adventures.

(Definition of “go on” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)