Improvement: To be Continual… Or Continuous?

Any student of W. Edwards Deming or quality management in general is no stranger to the term ‘Continuous Improvement’.

Over here at Intelex, we use the term an awful lot, as we believe that, though it is most frequently cited in conversations on quality management, it is more of a meta-process that can be applied to all aspects of business management: environment, health, safety, governance…anything!

But a bit of an internal conversation was struck up recently as we noticed some people prefer ‘continuous’, while others use ‘continual’. So we thought we would do a little research and find out which term was correct, or if they represented two ways of stating the same thing.

Here’s a comparison chart outlining what we found (with an albeit highly unscientific methodology):


Metric Continual Continuous
Definition “Recurring regularly or frequently”

“Forming an unbroken whole; without interruption”

Google Pickup About 1.2 million results

About 9.5 million