Continuous OR continual?


Question of the Day:  The words are very similar.  What is the difference, if any, between continuous and continual?  Here are two example sentences in which I feel the meaning is the same. Maintaining the love in a marriage requires continuous effort on the part of the marriage mates. Maintaining the love in a marriage requires continual effort on the part of the marriage mates.  In both cases, the meaning of continuous and continual is ongoing, or non-stop.  

continuous continual asked Sep 01 '13 at 02:51 Chantal New member

1 answer


'Continuous' means without stopping. An example would be if you lived next to a waterfall on a river. You could describe the sound of the water as continuous because it is always there, even at night.


'Countinual' means that something continues over time, but is not all day and all night. If you live near a busy street, the noise of the traffic is continual in that it happens day in and day out, but not continous because there are periods during the day or night when very few cars are on the street. 'Continual' allows for a break in whatever is going on, but it will restart at some point.

link comment answered Sep 01 '13 at 11:50 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow

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