continual, continuous

continual, continuous
   Although the distinction is not widely observed, or indeed always necessary, there is a useful difference between these words. Continual refers to things that happen repeatedly but not constantly. Continuous indicates an uninterrupted sequence. However, few readers will be aware of this distinction, and the writer who requires absolute clarity will generally be better advised to use incessant or uninterrupted for continuous and intermittent for continual.

Dictionary of troublesome word. . 2013.

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  • continual - continuous — Continual and continuous can both be used to describe things which continue to happen or exist without stopping. ...a continual movement of air. ...the necessity for continual change. ...a continuous loving relationship …   Useful english dictionary

  • continual / continuous —    Continual means repeated with breaks in between : We need continual rain throughout the summer for crops to grow.    Continuous means without stopping : The continuous drumming of the rain on the windows put Herman to sleep …   Confused words

  • continual / continuous —    Continual means repeated with breaks in between : We need continual rain throughout the summer for crops to grow.    Continuous means without stopping : The continuous drumming of the rain on the windows put Herman to sleep …   Confused words

  • continual, continuous — In some senses and uses, these words are synonymous. One distinction is that continual implies a close recurrence in time, or rapid succession, whereas continuous suggests without interruption, constant. The continual ringing of the doorbell and… …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • continual, continuous —    Although the distinction is not widely observed, or indeed always necessary, there is a useful difference between these words. Continual refers to things that happen repeatedly but not constantly. Continuous indicates an uninterrupted sequence …   Dictionary of troublesome word

  • continual — continual, continuous, constant, incessant, unremitting, perpetual, perennial are comparable when meaning characterized by continued occurrence or recurrence over a relatively long period of time. Continual implies a close or unceasing succession …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • continual — continual, continuous 1. Continual is the older word (14c), and once had all the meanings it now (since the mid 19c) shares with continuous (17c). Fowler (1926) expressed the current distinction somewhat cryptically as follows: ‘That is al which… …   Modern English usage

  • continuous — continual, continuous 1. Continual is the older word (14c), and once had all the meanings it now (since the mid 19c) shares with continuous (17c). Fowler (1926) expressed the current distinction somewhat cryptically as follows: ‘That is al which… …   Modern English usage

  • continual — con|tin|u|al [kənˈtınjuəl] adj [only before noun] 1.) continuing for a long time without stopping ▪ five weeks of continual rain ▪ the Japanese business philosophy of continual improvement 2.) repeated many times, often in a way that is harmful… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • continual — adjective a service disrupted by continual breakdowns Syn: frequent, repeated, recurrent, recurring, intermittent, regular Ant: occasional, sporadic •• continual, continuous Continual = frequently recurring; intermittent e.g.: And [the police… …   Thesaurus of popular words

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