English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

So, just a few minutes ago we had this question asking whether one could substitute ongoing availability with continuing availability and what the difference would be, if any. Apart from the question looking like spam and being deleted, my gut feeling told me it should've been continued availability instead of continuing.

This made me wonder: are these two exchangeable as well? Is there any subtle difference in meaning that I'm missing? continuing availability just sounds wrong, but I can't seem to put my finger on it as to why.

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

There is a slight difference between the two.

Use continued when you are speaking about availability that has persisted up till a point in time (e.g., now) but may not persist past it.

Use continuing when you are speaking about availability that will persist into the future.

share|improve this answer
    
Ah, of course! Thanks :) – Magnus Jan 16 '13 at 22:03
2  
Not so fast, Magnus! Robusto's claim does not hold for me. The two phrases are indistinguishable. I can't think of a context in which choosing one over the other makes any semantic difference. This example needs continued/ing consideration. – H Stephen Straight Jan 16 '13 at 23:20
    
Well, my belly says he's got a point, but if someone has a better explanation I'm all ears... – Magnus Jan 17 '13 at 6:21

"Continuing" is the effort make whatever ongoing into the future but may stop any time and for any reason, "continued" refers to picking up where is left and not moving forward and you make it move and keep it going.

share|improve this answer
    
I think Robusto's answer is closer to the mark than yours. Consider the phrase, "the United States' continued/continuing involvement in Afghanistan." It seems to me that the implication of continued is "not yet ended," with a hint that the persistence of the involvement goes against expectations. In contrast, continuing seems to me to be a neutral way of saying simply "ongoing." I don't see continued (as you seem to) as being, under normal circumstances, a synonym for resumed. – Sven Yargs Mar 23 at 22:13
    
The sense of "being' is there but in the shadow. The word 'continued' says it all, although the involvement goes against 'expectation', it is continued to be doing what they had been doing. You can even see the action being displayed in the word 'continued'; it brings you to the battle field you haven't been. It's 'being' as close as you can get. It is how I feel about it. Thanks for your comment on my post Sven Yargs -- Roger Chang – Roger Chang Mar 23 at 23:13

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.