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Difference between Catch on to something and Catch up to something

catch on to somethingfigure smth. out; understand smth.:

  • His sagacious mind immediately recognized and caught on to the only plan of salvation in sight.

catch up to something—(also: catch up with something )

1. overtake a bus, etc. by walking fast:

  • Jane caught up to the bus that had almost left her behind.

2. keep pace with smth.:

  • Quite frankly, at our current pace, we will never catch up to fixing our infrastructure deficit.