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Grammar detail: verb stem + 続ける(つづける)

verb stem + 続ける(つづける) - continue doing ~
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verb stem
+
つづける
means
continue doing ~
かのじょ
彼女
はな
しつづけた

She went on speaking.
かようび
火曜日
から
あめ
りつづけている

It has been raining since Tuesday.
ほほえ
微笑
みつづけなさい

Keep on smiling.
On their own, つづく (or its kanji form
つづ
く) and つづける (or
つづ
ける) both mean 'continue'. つづく is the intransitive form (used to describe an uninterrupted continuation of a state or event):
この
あめ
まだ
つづ
でしょう
This rain will probably continue.
つづける is the transitive form (used to suggest resuming an action after an interruption):
きょう
今日
べんきょう
勉強
つづ
けましょ

Let's continue with the lesson for today.
One might expect that つづく would be used in this construction, but in fact the つづける form is used.
Note: the kana forms and kanji forms are equally acceptable and common.
ここ
すうねん
数年
しゅっしょうりつ
出生率
ていか
低下
つづ
ける
だろう
The birthrate will continue to decline for years to come.
そんなに
つづ
ける
びょうき
病気
なります
If you keep on drinking like that, you'll get sick.
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Kanji used in this grammar

ゾク   つづ to continue   つづける to carry on with   
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ヒ   かれ he   
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ジョ   ニョ   ニョウ   woman; female   おんな woman   め woman   
ワ   はな to talk   はなし talking   
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カ   fire   ひ    ほ-    
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ヨウ    day of the week   
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ニチ   ジツ   sun; day   ひ    -か    
ウ   あめ    あま- rain   
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コウ   おりる to get off   おろす to drop off   ふ to fall (eg rain)   
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ビ   minute, slight
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ショウ   わら to laugh   え to smile   
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コン   キン   いま now   
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ベン    exertion   
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キョウ   ゴウ   つよ strong   つよまる to get stronger   つよめる to strengthen   しいる to compel, to force   
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スウ   ス   かず number   かぞえる to count   
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ネン   とし year   
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シュツ   スイ   だ to take out, to put out   で to go out, to exit   
セイ   ショウ    life   なま raw   いかす to enliven   いきる to live   いける to arrange flowers   うまれる to be born   う to give birth to   き pure, undiluted   お to grow, to sprout   はえる to grow, to sprout   はやす to grow, cultivate   
ソツ   リツ   lead; ratio   ひきいる to lead, to command   
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テイ   ひく low   ひくめる to lower   ひくまる to be lowered   
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カ   ゲ   した below, under   しも bottom part   もと under (influence)   さげる to lower, to reduce   さがる to be lowered   くだ to descend   くだ to judge   くださる to give   おろす to drop off (passenger)   おりる to get off (train)   
イン   の to drink   
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ヘイ   ビョウ   やまい illness   や to fall ill   
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キ   ケ    spirit   
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