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Continual vs. Continued (Differences, Meanings, Examples)

What’s the difference between continual and continued? The terms continual and continued are related because they derive from the same word, continue. Where, Continual is an adjective that means repeatedly occurring, frequently in an inconvenient or bothersome manner, or endlessly in time without interruption.

And the word continued also serves as an adjective that means persisting or extending without stoppage or anything that is still going, existing, and not yet done.

In this article, we’ll look at the distinctions between the two expressions and their meanings and proper usage.

Continualfrequently recurring; always happening.
Continuedwithout a break in continuity; ongoing.

Difference Between Continual vs. Continued with examples

The term “continuous” refers to a process that occurs without interruption or discontinuity. However, the phrase “continued” refers to something that continues without interruption following an interruption or resuming.

Examples of sentences using continual:

  • Since the fighting for independence started, the nation has been in a continual state of war.
  • The student’s continual disruptions irritated the teacher.
  • She was subjected to continual police harassment.

Examples of sentences using continued:

  • The government’s continued backing for the coalition.
  • With continued sun exposure, the pigments of the paints will fade.
  • Graciously accept our blessings on your continued success.

Continual and continued definition and meaning

The term “continual” refers to something that occurs frequently or continues indefinitely over an extended time [continual arguments]. Although most usage guides suggest using continual to signify “intermittent” and continuous to mean “uninterrupted,” the words are used similarly in all forms of writing or speech without any distinction in meaning.

Continued means without pause or interruption. The term ‘’continued’’ denotes something that has lasting power or that continues indefinitely. For example ” The flow of water from a city fire hydrant never stops”, or ”your continuing support for a politician means you vote for her year after year”. The Latin origin of continued is continuare, which means “to link or connect.”

Proper use of Continual and Continous in a sentence

When the word continual first entered the English language about 1400, it defined what continuous means now, and frequently occurring wasn’t given its main definition until the twentieth century. Continuous did not enter the language until the 17th century. Things that happen regularly or reoccur regularly are continual. The continual activity does not last indefinitely, but it does occur regularly.

When continued is used as an adjective, it denotes extending. Continued is also a noun with the meaning, the term continued when inserted at the end of a page to indicate that it will be continued.

Continual or Continous

‘Continuous’ refers to anything that never stops or is interrupted, whilst ‘Continual’ refers to a situation that occurs frequently or regularly.

For example:

  • Without a continuous influx of oxygen in the brain, cells begin to die, potentially resulting in lifelong brain damage.
  • Just seconds before the explosion, a loud and continuous whirling sound could be heard.
  • The wolf’s continual howling resonated through the forest.
  • Joan was kept awake by the continual hammering of the shutters.

Conclusion on Continual vs. Continued

In this article, we learned the distinction between the words ‘continual’ and ‘continued,’ as well as their usage and instances.

Grammar is tricky to learn since there are so many intricacies in the choice of words, sentence constructions, and document flow. It may be impossible for most individuals to create anything that sounds natural. 


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About the author

Dalia Y.: Dalia is an English Major and linguistics expert with an additional degree in Psychology. Dalia has featured articles on Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Grammarly, and many more. She covers English, ESL, and all things grammar on GrammarBrain.

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