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

I'm writing a technical report and I want to emphasize that each sample that I have stored in a buffer has been collected before the following one. Can I say,

The samples from the buffer are known to have been captured consecutively in time?

share|improve this question
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Sounds redundant to me. I'd put a period after "consecutively". Alternatively, you might try "in chronological order".

share|improve this answer
'In chronological order' does not mean the same as consecutively. A series of events can occur in chronological order, without being consecutive. – Dancrumb Apr 6 '11 at 16:05
@Dan: If a series of events are consecutive then they are also chronological, no? So, consecutive would be a more restrictive term than chronological? – MrHen Apr 6 '11 at 17:10
"Consecutively" implies some higher density; an ordering without gaps. The numbers [1, 2, 5] are not consecutive, but are in order. If I read that a list of samples were consecutive, I would assume that the list presented is all samples at some maximum sampling precision. (Either way, it is grammatical.) – user2400 Apr 6 '11 at 19:12
@MrHen: Yes; I just wanted to make the point that 'consecutively' and 'in chronological order' are not equivalent, in case Jal is not a native speaker. – Dancrumb Apr 6 '11 at 21:38

I cannot definitively say that consecutively in time is incorrect, but the phrasing is awkward, at best. I would suggest the good old simple expression, one after other. More formally, you could also say, in succession:

  • The samples from the buffer are known to have been captured one after the other.
  • The samples from the buffer are known to have been captured in succession.
share|improve this answer

I think consecutively should suffice; it's as if the 'in time' is an inelegant hint as to what consecutively actually means, to those who aren't sure.

share|improve this answer

I think you could easily use the word, "sequentially."

From dictionary.com

se·quen·tial    [si-kwen-shuhl]


1. characterized by regular sequence of parts.

2. following; subsequent; consequent.

share|improve this answer

Well, it could be used to make a distinction if the word were also serving other meanings:

con·sec·u·tive (kn-sky-tv) adj.

  1. Following one after another without interruption; successive: was absent on three consecutive days; won five consecutive games on the road.

  2. Marked by logical sequence.

  3. Grammar Expressing consequence or result: a consecutive clause.

From theFreeOnlineDictionary

If you had just used the word in its logical or grammatical sense, you might add "in time" if you then wanted to be clear about which version a chronological statement was serving.

share|improve this answer

Unless you are able to break a fundamental law of physics, consecutively in time is redundant.

If this is a technical report and you're discussing buffers, then your audience should/will probably understand FIFO.


A queue is FIFO, a stack is LIFO.

share|improve this answer

Just one word: successively.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


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.