Is it

With enough light, plants carry out a normal life cycle


With enough light, plants carry on a normal life cycle

I'm confused because I'm not getting the exact difference between both verbs in this case. Although "carry on" means continue and "carry out" means perform, I don't know if plants should continue a normal life cycle or perform a normal life cycle

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  • I would suggest carry on, as it's a normal process they continue with rather than a one-off action. – Kate Bunting May 6 '19 at 16:50
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    Since you are unfamiliar with the terms, I'd suggest that you not use them. Nothing wrong with "live" in the above context. – Hot Licks May 6 '19 at 16:50
  • either form is going to be widely acceptable. – dandavis May 6 '19 at 17:20
  • English language learner questions should not be posted here, not answered and closed asap. – David Nov 2 '19 at 20:38
  • I would not accept either form. Both carry out and carry on are inappropriate here. – Greybeard Mar 1 at 22:05
  • Carry on : to continue doing something/ to continue moving on.( Example. Carry on until you're exhausted.)

    • Carry out: to complete a task / to fulfil a task you once promised (Example. You must carry out the promise / the investigation.)

It is a coincidence that in your examples they carry out the same sense ; so you may carry on such practice.

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In this sentence, what's being carried out, or on, is a plant's life cycle.
By its nature, this has a beginning, a middle, and an end;
and restarts to do the same over again.

So there is one series that the plant can complete, and this allows carry out:

  • With enough light, plants carry out a normal life cycle.
    (i.e, with enough light, plants can sprout, grow, and reproduce)

But plants do reproduce, and they occur in groups with different cycles,
so there is also a continuity that allows the use of carry on.

  • With enough light, plants carry on a normal life cycle.
    (i.e, with enough light, plant life continues)

Since we're talking about plants here, this is not exactly a coincidence.
The distinction between carry on and carry out is designed for active
verb phrases with agent subjects, not metaphors of evolution.

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