November 27 2012

Continuous vs. continual

by Barbie in Grammar

Continuous and continual are often used interchangeably, but there are distinct differences between these words.

  • Continuous: Marked by uninterrupted extension in time, space, or sequence
  • Continual: Continuing indefinitely in time without interruption or occurring in steady, usually rapid, succession

The key word in the definition for continuous is “uninterrupted.” Thus, the event occurs without breaks. The second part of the continual definition, on the other hand, indicates that continual can be used for an event that repeats but is not uninterrupted.