Blood transportation in the heart is a continuous process; however, continual deposits of fat in the arteries can block the blood flow and cause heart attack.

The two words ‘continuous’ and ‘continual’ might seem confusing to someone at first sight but they are not. There is a visible difference between the pronunciation and the meaning of both words. Continuous is used to define an unbroken stream of actions. On the other hand, continual is also constant stream of actions but it has breaks. If you look at the two terms, you’ll find that both are adjectives and are used to represent a recurring process. A continuous work takes place from start to end without any interruption while continual process is work that takes place from start to end but with some interruptions. Let’s delve further into their definitions.

Continuous vs continual – definitions meanings and example sentences

Definition of continuous

The word continuous is an adjective and is defined as the sequence (or stream) of time or action that is uninterrupted. Let’s say it has been raining continuously since morning. This means there’s no interruption even for a moment in rain-falling from the time it started. Continuous is made up of two Latin words ‘con’ and ‘tenere’. ‘Con’ means ‘together with’ and ‘tenere’ means ‘hold’. In literature, ‘contenere’ means to hang or hold together something without any interruption. Continuous was used for the first time in the 1800s. The noun of this word is ‘continuation’ and the adverb is ‘continuously.’

Example sentences of continuous

  • The heart has been supplying continuous blood to different parts of the body since birth.

Everyone knows that the basic function of the heart is to pump blood and it is doing its job from the day a person is born. If it stops even for a moment, the person will die. The heart’s activity is the best example of ‘continuous’ action.

  • ‘Continuous workout will tire your muscles so you should rest between intervals while exercising,’ the expert advised.

A professional fitness coach advised someone that he should take short breaks while exercising and should not do non-stop exercise because it can cause muscle fatigue.

  • A continuous drop in the country’s economy has put it at a dead end.

This sentence tells us that the economy of the country is declining day by day without any halt. In other words, it’s a continuous process and the country’s development is suffering very badly because of this.

Definition of continual

Continual is also an adjective just like continuous. It refers to a process that is happening consistently but with a pause. It is a function or activity that is repeated frequently over a period of time. For example, Japan fought with America for six years continually. It didn’t fight every moment for six years but it fought from time to time during those six years. The word ‘continual’ is derived from the Latin word ‘continuus’ which means ‘joining or following one after another.’ Continual was used in the 1800s for the first time. The adverb form of continual is continually.

Example sentences of continual

  • The continual conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and the Byzantine Empire paved the way for the conquer of Baghdad by Timur.

During the 13th century, the Ottomans started a series of conflicts with the Byzantine Empire that led Timur to attack Baghdad. This sentence shows that there was a series of wars, fought between both empires, not a continuous war.

  • Abraham said, ‘I couldn’t sleep well last night because of the continual strikes of lightning.’

The striking of light is a continual phenomenon. There was not a continuous light on the sky but it flickered from time to time. The striking of light is a continual process because it was there but with an interruption.

  • A successful entrepreneur learns through a continual process.

Successful people have a habit of learning consistently or continually. Remember, there’s a pause in ‘continually’ so it means that a successful person has a fixed schedule for learning in his busy life and he also enjoys breaks.

The terms ‘continuous’ and ‘continual’ are in common use nowadays and there is no rocket science to learn the difference between them. Continuous is a non-stop while continual has some stops.  You can master the difference in this way:

The two words that rhyme are continual and interval. So remember, continual has intervals while continuous means uninterrupted actions.

We hope that you can easily memorize the difference between both words now.