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Continuous vs. Continual

By Judy Vorfeld

CONTINUOUS (unin­ter­rupted)
“Continuous” refers some­thing hap­pen­ing with­out inter­rup­tion. Examples: Living near the free­way means lis­ten­ing to con­tin­u­ous road noise from dawn to dusk…I sat watch­ing the con­tin­u­ous flow of water spilling from the top of Multnomah Falls.

CONTINUAL (hap­pen­ing again and again)
“Continual” sug­gests a close, pro­longed recur­rence, hap­pen­ing again and again (reg­u­larly). Examples: Their neighbor’s dog barks continually…The red light blinks con­tin­u­ally when the train is nearby.


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