There are many words in our language that seem to be interchangeable but actually have subtle differences in meaning.

Have you ever stopped to think about the difference between continuous and continual, for instance? They don’t actually mean the same thing.

Continuous means all the time, non-stop.

Continual means all the time, but with breaks.

For instance, you might want to complain to your neighbours that their car alarm went off continuously for an hour on Sunday morning. This means it literally didn’t stop.

However, if it went off continually for an hour, that means it kept starting and stopping during that time.

If you want to remember the difference, you could tell yourself that if something is continuouS you just want it to STOP.