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I am confused about whether it is okay to say,

"Ok, carry on/go ahead with your job then."

Any help on this simple issue is highly appreciated.

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    There's no real difference in the phrases; they both express the same status difference (master to servant) and the same directions (Continue.) and the same attitude (All is well.) and the same metaphor theme (Life Is A Journey, with servants). The only real difference is which part of the metaphor theme gets prominence: carry on refers to bearing burdens, while go ahead refers to scouting and preparation for arrival. – John Lawler Dec 3 '13 at 18:11
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    The only difference I can think of between the two is that carry on should only be used to indicate that a task should be resumed or continued, while go ahead can be used not only for those, but for a task's commencement as well. – Hellion Dec 3 '13 at 18:36
  • @Hellion This is usually true, but I'd add the possible exception in a military setting, where "carry on smartly" can be for sending someone away, either to begin or continue. Carry-On Smartly: (Normally followed by the word Shipmate, if your not a NUB!) A navy tradition to be curt or kind in terms of sending someone away. It's all in the tone of voice and delivery. nukeworker.com/forum/index.php?topic=26145.0 – Spare Oom Dec 14 '13 at 3:50
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As both John Lawler and Hellion note, either option are acceptable. There are some subtle differences between the two. From Hellion:

The only difference I can think of between the two is that carry on should only be used to indicate that a task should be resumed or continued, while go ahead can be used not only for those, but for a task's commencement as well.

  • I would add that carry on can be used as an encouragement, and doesn't necessarily connotate an authority's approval. On the other hand, go ahead definitely implies that permission was needed from a superior. – Jacobm001 Dec 19 '13 at 17:10

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