The Closing Word: Continual vs. Continuous

Image of Closing Word IconThis week we continue our vocabulary-building series, “The Closing Word.” Each week we provide a new word to help build your vocabulary and show you how to specifically implement it in business. A well-spoken, intelligent agent inspires confidence with clients and colleagues alike.

This week’s closing word:

continual vs. continuous

This week we’re highlighting a fine distinction between two words which are often used interchangeably.

Traditionally, a “continual” event is one which happens often, recurring. A “continuous” event is one which forms a whole, or experiences no pause, delay, or setback. The main idea is “frequency” compared to “continuity.”

While they share some synonyms, the distinction between the two is worth noting.


Pronounced: (con-TIN-you-uhl)

1. Frequently recurring; always happening.
2. Having no interruptions.

incessant – continuous – constant – unceasing – ceaseless


Pronounced: (con-TIN-you-US)

1. Forming an unbroken whole; without interruption.
2. Forming a series with no exceptions or reversals.

continual – uninterrupted – incessant – unbroken


“Even though I’d explained to my clients I’d be on vacation, and they should contact my partner, my beach time was interrupted by continual text messages.”

Continuous winds from the hurricane eventually tore the roof off the listing.”


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