I'm uncertain about the grammar of this sentence. Which of the following two would I write?

He goes on to say that...

He goes on to saying that...

I googled both of these phrases. The former seems to be more common (though many instances of the latter are seen). In Google's ngram viewer, however, it seems that the latter doesn't even exist.

  • So one of them is common, and googling it gives you dictionary and newspaper reference about and of its use. The other is less common and gives you results from amateur websites and non-native sources. Why would you have any doubts as to which one to use? You seem to have answered your own question...
    – oerkelens
    Oct 31, 2017 at 7:46
  • I wouldn't necessarily say that I get results from "amateur websites and non-native sources." I guess my question would be better phrased, "is the latter correct, and why/why not?" Oct 31, 2017 at 7:50

1 Answer 1


Collins lists the first construction here as [verb + particle (on) + to-infinitive]:

5 If you go on to do something, you do it after you have done something else.

Alliss retired from golf in 1969 and went on to become a successful broadcaster. [VERB PARTICLE to-infinitive]

She went on to say that she had discussed it with the Canadian foreign minister. [VERB PARTICLE to-infinitive]

It also lists a construction similar to the second, but as [verb + particle (on) + preposition (to) + noun (place)]:

If you go on to a place, you go to it from the place that you have reached.

He goes on to Holland tomorrow. [VERB PARTICLE preposition/adverb]

A metaphorical broadening of this, and the use of an ing-form in place of the noun, are not unacceptable per se:

That's all for today. We go on to knitting cardigans next week.

But 'He goes on to saying that ...' is a poor, probably unacceptable, replacement for 'He goes on to say that ...'. This broadened sense (We go on to knitting cardigans next week.) can be paraphrased by, for example, We go on to look at / cover knitting cardigans next week. or We move on to knitting cardigans next week.

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