It is from this video. It is at around 2 minute and 25 second. Here is the context:

Another group of researchers took a look at the evidence out there in 2013, and concluded that habitually eating breakfast did help children to stay on task in school.

Does this mean it helps them to stay concentrated on their task, or it helps them to do it? If I am right, then why was an article omitted before the word task?

2 Answers 2


"stay on task" means "stay focused".

Note that the speaker emphasizes "stay focused", not the specific task.

So, you talk about "task" in general, and you don’t need an article when you talk about things in general:

There are many reasons why a kindergartner might not be able to stay on task in the classroom.

My manager instructs me to pay attention on work.


You are correct; "Stay on Task" means to stay focused or to maintain concentration.

The reason there is no article in front of the word Task is that "stay on task" is a well-known phrase and does not follow the normal rules of grammar.

  • 1
    Your explanation of the meaning is fine. But the phrase does follow normal rules. Compare: on point, on course, on topic, on time, on deck, on assignment, on vacation, on holiday, on hiatus. Sep 4, 2018 at 14:07

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