Quick answer
"Continue" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "continuar", and "go on" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "seguir". Learn more about the difference between "continue" and "go on" below.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to resume)
a. continuar
The students continued their work after recess.Los estudiantes continuaron con su trabajo después del recreo.
b. reanudar
Let's continue this conversation after lunch.Reanudemos esta conversación después del almuerzo.
2. (to remain)
a. seguir
The ladies continued talking all afternoon.Las señoras siguieron platicando toda la tarde.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
3. (to resume)
a. continuar
The clinical trial will not continue after these problems.El ensayo clínico no continuará después de estos problemas.
4. (to remain)
a. seguir
The president of the United States will continue in office.El presidente de los Estados Unidos seguirá en su cargo.
5. (to extend)
a. continuar
The road continues through the mountains for another 100 km.El camino continúa por las montañas unos 100 km más.
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An intransitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and does not require a direct object (e.g. Everybody please stand up.).
intransitive verb phrase
1. (to continue)
a. seguir
I don't know how much longer I can go on if I don't get some water soon.No sé cuánto puedo seguir si no consigo agua pronto.
b. continuar
I'm getting tired, but I have to go on and reach the camp before sundown.Me estoy cansando, pero tengo que continuar y llegar al campamento antes del atardecer.
c. durar
Her depression went on for about a year after her miscarriage.Su depresión duró alrededor de un año después de que perdió el embarazo.
2. (to keep on; used with gerund)
a. seguir
Before you go on making jokes about her artwork, I think you should know that it sold for $10,000.Antes de que sigas haciendo chistes sobre su obra, creo que deberías saber que se vendió por $10,000.
3. (to proceed; used with "to")
a. pasar
We are going to go on to the next chapter now.Vamos a pasar al siguiente capítulo ahora.
4. (to be guided by)
a. basarse en
We don't have much to go on, but I think we have enough for an indictment.No tenemos mucho en que basarnos, pero creo que tenemos lo suficiente para formular cargos.
b. guiarse
The only thing the police had to go on was a blurry picture of the kidnapper.Lo único que tenía la policía para guiarse era una foto borrosa del secuestrador.
5. (to approach)
a. tener cerca de
How old is Natalia? - I think she's going on 45.¿Cuántos años tiene Natalia? - Creo que tiene cerca de 45.
b. ser cerca de
It's going on 4 pm and we still don't know if we'll be able to get on the plane.Son cerca de las 4 pm y todavía no sabemos si vamos a poder subirnos al avión.
6. (to fit)
a. entrarle
The baby's feet have grown. These shoes won't go on him any more.Los pies del bebé han crecido. Ya no le entran estos zapatos.
b. colocar
This lid is not the right size. It doesn't go on this jar.Esta tapa no es del tamaño adecuado. No se puede colocar en este frasco.
7. (to happen)
a. pasar
I don't know what's going on over there, but it looks like a fight.No sé qué pasa ahí, pero parece ser una pelea.
b. ocurrir
What's going on here? - Nothing Dad, we're just doing an experiment for science class.¿Qué ocurre? - Nada, papá, sólo estamos haciendo un experimento para la clase de ciencias.
8. (to talk a lot; used with "about")
a. hablar
Sandra is still going on about how she won the contest in school last week.Sandra sigue hablando de cómo ganó el concurso en la escuela la semana pasada.
b. hablar sin parar
I hate people who go on about themselves for hours on end.Detesto a las personas que hablan sin parar de sí mismas durante horas y horas.
9. (theater)
a. salir a escena
Tracy's band goes on at 8 pm.La banda de Tracy sale a escena a las 8 pm.
10. (to switch on)
a. prenderse
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
The lights went on in the theater when the movie ended.Se prendieron las luces en el cine cuando terminó la película.
b. encenderse
The lights on the bridge go on when it gets dark.Las luces en el puente se encienden cuando oscurece.
11. (to embark)
a. ir
We're going to go on a trip this weekend.Nos vamos a ir de viaje este fin de semana.
An interjection is a short utterance that expresses emotion, hesitation, or protest (e.g. Wow!).
12. (encouraging)
a. anda
Go on! Ask her for her phone number.¡Anda! Pídele su número de teléfono.
b. venga
Go on! You can do it.¡Venga! Tú puedes.
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