The audio version is here (from a movie called Open Grave (2013)):

— Hey, who are you, man?
— I don't remember who I am.
— None of us do.
— Okay, we have no phone and no computer. There's no way to contact the authorities. All we have to go on is this.
— So we know our names. I'm Sharon!
— I... Michael.
— You've met Lukas.

I don't think I comprehend this well. I understand all we have just fine; it means something like that's all we've got here. But I don't know how to make proper sense of to go on.

Just dawned on me. Does that mean something like all we have (all we've got) to continue figuring out who we are is this (and then we throws a bunch of identification cards on the table, apparently the identification cards belong to them).

  • 3
    The full expression is "have to go on" - it means "all the information we possess upon which to make a decision/action". An alternate expression is "all we have to work with" Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 13:50
  • I'm not so sure if it's even an expression. I couldn't find anything about this expression on the net. Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 14:06
  • well, it's all we have to go on, so it'll just have to do :P Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 14:27

1 Answer 1


To have/got X to go on means "to know X currently / right now / at this moment" with it understood that the subject is missing full knowledge about a situation.

All we have/got to go on is X means X is all we know currently / right now / at this moment, and there's more we don't know.

Note that have in the above is pronounced with a "v" as in "victor" sound in the above.

If the "V" in have is pronounced with an "f" as in "foxtrot" sound, have changes meaning to required.

Thus - intransitively, the full phrase have to go on would then mean required to continue / keep going (I can't stop here, I have to go on). Transitively, it would mean required to enter, begin, embark, or physically move on top of (I have to go on the plane now.

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