If the next row is supposed to be knit, knit it. If it should be purled, purl it. If there's a stitch pattern (like ribbing) work the stitch pattern. It just means 'carry on with your knitting the way you have been except no increases or decreases' and is usually found after there have been increases or decreases.
sue- knitting heretic
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Because it depends where you are in the pattern - the next row could be a knit row, or a purl row or whatever. Though 'knit' is often used as a generic verb, it's also a specific stitch, so 'work' is used in patterns as the verb.