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I know this may be a bit redundant to:

Recur vs. Reoccur

However, with less than 50 reputation on this board, I am unable to comment on that post. I have a specific question on the usage of these words:

I am authoring a technical report for our Information Technology group. We report on Incidents (tickets to our support groups when things break - think you're internet goes down and you call your internet provider and file a ticket with them) and sometimes there are many Incidents that happen many times every month. It's not always the same number of occurrences, but it's definitely more than 3 or 4 (most of the time we are talking 60 - 100 times) each month. We want to discuss this top and titling it has created some disagreements within our team about proper grammar.

Should this be titled:

Recurring Incidents

or

Reoccurring Incidents

I checked the definitions and looked at the previous post, but it seems vague in relation to my specific usage. I figured this board would be me determine the proper usage. Thanks so much!

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  • My instinct would be that recurring is something that happens even more often than reoccuring, so it's a subjective question of how much is a lot. – S Conroy Aug 16 '18 at 22:26
  • It would be reoccurring if the cause is different, conditions are different, equipment is different, etc. Use recurrence only when the recurrence is inherent to the system, whether intentional or not. In your case, if the issues are sorted by cause, say defective batteries, go ahead and use recurrence. But if the reports are symptomatic, as in "I didn't receive what I ordered", and can't be tightly correlated to a single bad actor, I'd go with reoccurrence. – Phil Sweet Aug 17 '18 at 0:31
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    Oh, and I would suggest that reoccurence is the only option for raw data. You have to analyze the tickets and corrective actions before you can decide if there is a recurring problem. – Phil Sweet Aug 17 '18 at 0:42
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"Something that is recurring happens over and over again, possibly at regular intervals. In contrast, something that is reoccurring is simply happening again but not always repeatedly." Recurring vs. Reoccurring

The above is a blog post but Merriam-Webster says much the same thing. "Both recur and reoccur can mean simply “to happen or appear again,” and this is the way that reoccur is most often used. Recur can suggest a periodic or frequent repetition in addition to having the same basic meaning as reoccur ..." 'Recur' and 'Reoccur': A Subtle Difference

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  • So if we have Incidents that happen frequently - every month, then using Recurring Incidents is correct? – azdatasci Aug 17 '18 at 1:25
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    Good point: a reoccurring incident can be read as one that happened one more time (like saying something happened again). However, in the OP's context, I think it has the semantic range to cover multiple repeat occurrences. Picking "recurring" sidesteps all this nicely. – Lawrence Aug 17 '18 at 6:30
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If something happens frequently -- every hour, every day, every month, then they are called recurring incidents. If something repeat itself in specified interval of time, then it is called recurring.

Recur

Occurs repeatedly or frequently

"When her symptoms recurred later that evening, she followed this advice and had her daughter drive her to the emergency department."

Reoccur

Surely, occurs again but not necessary in short interval of time, to happen another time.

"took measures to prevent such accidents from reoccurring."

Good to know information:

continually should be used to mean “very often; at regular or frequent intervals,” and continuously to mean “unceasingly; constantly; without interruption.”

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I think it depends on perspective. There is a systems perspective and a behavior management perspective. From the systems perspective, you are either interacting with the incident or not. If you are, a human response is required and the incident is reoccurring. If you are not, there is an automated or “canned” response. Think of a recurring blip in a closed circuit of some kind. From this perspective, the issue is “reoccurring” in your report.

The behavioral perspective asks whether the incident can be interacted with at all. Think of inappropriate behavior. Is it self-contained and/or extinguishable, or is it un-fixable? The teacher’s report refers to the the latter category of behaviors in a child as recurring, and the former as reoccurring. From this perspective, your report would use “recurring,” because the problem itself seems interminable and it’s gonna keep happening and keep requiring work; you can't interact with it from a behavioral perspective.

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