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sleeping beauties Stephen King & Owen King

It leaned alarmingly, and then George cheered as it righted itself, turned, and went racing on down toward the intersection.

What "on" has to do with the verb "race", or what meaning adds to the verb "race down"

Give me the meaning of "racing on down"

2 Answers 2

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He went racing on down toward the intersection.

He went racing down toward the intersection.

He went racing on toward the intersection.

He went racing toward the intersection.

I'd say that all these sentences mean the same thing. Prepositions are peculiar; sometimes they can be used in pairs with each other without altering the meaning of the sentence. (Such usages may be more acceptable in some regions than others.)

Here are a couple more examples:

He climbed up over the fence.
He climbed over the fence.

She went on into the house.
She went into the house.

One could argue that the first sentence adds a little detail, in that one might picture a higher fence if the phrase up over is used in place of over, or that it was a longer walk into the house if we say on into instead into. Those assertions may have some merit, but each pair of sentences still essentially mean the same thing.

Sometimes the result of these "chained" prepositions is that the sentence has a more folksy and less formal feel.

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One of the meanings of on is "in continuance or succession", meaning that something continued. It isn't specific to "race"; someone could talk on or play on or anything else, meaning that they kept doing it.

Down means "to or toward a point away from the speaker or the speaker's point of reference".

So the whole thing just means that it continued to race in the direction of the intersection.

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  • I'm reminded of the line "Ease on down the road" from The Wiz. :)
    – J.R.
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 21:01

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