Hello, teachers!
Are these all correct expressions? If so, would you please tell me the difference in meaning between 'keep -ing' and 'go -ing'? And tell me if # 1 & 2 mean intentional actions or not, please.
1. My boy keeps/goes coughing.
2. I keep/go coughing.
3. He kept/went talking.
4. I kept/went talking.
Enjoy twinkling stars in the dark sky.
Best Regards.
Original Post
I know of no expression "go -ing" that means "to continue doing something." "To go -ing, " as you know, is used with the gerund form of verbs denoting activities such as go fishing, go hiking, and go shopping.

There's an expression "to go ON -ing" that does mean "to continue doing something." I will assume that this is what you meant, and alter the examples to reflect this fact.

Sentences 1 and 2 are both grammatically correct, but are more natural with "keep." Sentences 3 and 4 are OK with either (but see below).

Interestingly, although both expressions mean "to continue," they do have a difference when it comes to actions that are under the control of the subject (volitional) and those that are not under the subject's control (nonvolitional).

'Keep -ing" is used with both volitional and nonvolitional verbs:

--I don't see why she keeps breaking her engagements (volitional)

--Why do you keep criticizing my cooking? (volitional)

--I've taken my cat to the vet several times, but she keeps losing her fur (nonvolitional)

--My son's team keeps getting beaten by younger teams (nonvolitional)

It's much more common to hear "go on -ing" with volitional verbs:

--He was told to moderate his criticisms of the manager, but he went on doing it

--Does he really have to go on telling us about his new Porsche?

With nonvolitional verbs it's a bit strange:

--?She went on getting sick

--?He went on losing jobs

Sometimes, to emphasize the persistence of the activity, one can use the particle "on" with "keep," and with the verb "go on," use "and on":

--He kept on being passed over for promotion (nonvolitional)

--Why does he go on and on making excuses for his tardiness? (volitional)

Marilyn Martin
Last edited {1}

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