# Continuity vs. Discontinuity — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on September 5, 2023
Continuity refers to the unbroken and consistent existence of something, while discontinuity denotes an interruption or break.

## Key Differences

Continuity suggests a seamless, unbroken flow or sequence of events or elements. In many contexts, it implies that there's no interruption or disturbance in the progression or timeline. On the contrary, discontinuity indicates a break or a disruption, suggesting that there's an interruption in the flow or sequence, causing a gap or division.
In mathematics, continuity represents that a function doesn't have any jumps, breaks, or holes, meaning its graph is unbroken. Discontinuity, in this context, refers to a point where the function isn't continuous, marking a place where the function has a break, jump, or hole.
In the realm of film and media, continuity ensures that there are no observable inconsistencies in the storyline or setting across scenes, offering a cohesive narrative experience for viewers. Discontinuity, conversely, points to errors or inconsistencies that might jar the viewer's experience or disrupt the storyline's flow.
Another perspective comes from developmental psychology, where theories based on continuity posit that development is a gradual and continuous process. Meanwhile, theories emphasizing discontinuity propose that development occurs in distinct stages with clear-cut boundaries.

## Comparison Chart

### Definition

Unbroken and consistent existence or sequence of events
An interruption or break in a sequence or process

### Mathematical Context

A function without jumps, breaks, or holes
A point where a function isn't continuous

### Film & Media

Ensures no observable inconsistencies across scenes
Points to errors or inconsistencies in scenes

### Developmental Psychology

Proposes development as a gradual, continuous process
Suggests development occurs in distinct stages

### General Implication

Suggests seamless progression
Indicates interruptions or breaks

## Compare with Definitions

#### Continuity

The state of being continuous and unbroken.
The continuity of the music was soothing.

#### Discontinuity

The state of being interrupted or broken.
The discontinuity in the power supply caused the outage.

#### Continuity

The property of a continuous and connected period of time

#### Discontinuity

In mathematics, a point where a function isn't continuous.
The graph showcased the discontinuity clearly.

#### Continuity

A film industry term indicating consistency in settings, costumes, and storyline.
His job was to ensure continuity in every scene.

#### Discontinuity

A break or gap in a sequence.
He noticed a discontinuity in the DNA sequence.

#### Continuity

In mathematics, a characteristic of a function that doesn't have breaks.
The graph demonstrated the continuity of the function.

#### Discontinuity

A departure from regular sequence or common rule.
The artist's work was known for its sharp discontinuity.

#### Continuity

Consistency over a period of time.
The continuity of her performance impressed the judges.

#### Discontinuity

An interruption in the normal progression or development.
The discontinuity in his work history raised questions.

#### Continuity

The maintenance of continuous action and self-consistent detail in scenes.
She was in charge of continuity during the play.

#### Discontinuity

Lack of continuity, logical sequence, or cohesion.

#### Continuity

The maintenance of continuous action and self-consistent detail in the various scenes of a film or broadcast
A continuity error

A break or gap.

#### Continuity

A detailed script used in making a film in order to avoid discontinuities from shot to shot

#### Discontinuity

(Geology) A surface at which seismic wave velocities change.

#### Continuity

Uninterrupted connection or union

#### Discontinuity

A point at which a function is defined but is not continuous.

#### Continuity

The state or quality of being continuous.

#### Discontinuity

Lack of connection of continuity

#### Continuity

An uninterrupted succession or flow; a coherent whole.

#### Discontinuity

A point at which a function is undefined.

#### Continuity

A detailed script or scenario consulted to avoid discrepancies from shot to shot in a film, allowing the various scenes to be shot out of order.

#### Discontinuity

A lack of continuity, regularity or sequence; a break or gap.

#### Continuity

Lack of interruption or disconnection; the quality of being continuous in space or time.
Considerable continuity of attention is needed to read German philosophy.

#### Discontinuity

(mathematics) A point in the range of a function at which it is undefined or discontinuous.

#### Continuity

A characteristic property of a continuous function.

#### Discontinuity

(geology) a subterranean interface at which seismic velocities change

#### Continuity

(narratology) A narrative device in episodic fiction where previous and/or future events in a series of stories are accounted for in present stories.

#### Discontinuity

Want of continuity or cohesion; disunion of parts.

#### Continuity

Consistency between multiple shots depicting the same scene but possibly filmed on different occasions.

#### Continuity

The announcements and messages inserted by the broadcaster between programmes.

#### Continuity

The state of being continuous; uninterrupted connection or succession; close union of parts; cohesion; as, the continuity of fibers.
The sight would be tired, if it were attracted by a continuity of glittering objects.

#### Continuity

The unbroken and consistent existence or operation of something over time
A consensus favouring continuity of policy

#### Continuity

Spoken matter serving to link parts of a radio or television program so that no break occurs.

## Common Curiosities

#### Can discontinuity suggest a flaw or error?

Yes, discontinuity often points to inconsistencies or interruptions in a sequence.

#### Is every break in a process considered a discontinuity?

Not necessarily; discontinuity refers to significant or noticeable interruptions in a sequence.

#### In a mathematical function, what does discontinuity represent?

Discontinuity represents a point where a function isn't continuous, having a break or gap.

#### How do writers ensure continuity in their work?

Writers often use outlines, character profiles, and timelines to ensure continuity in their narratives.

#### How is continuity relevant in the film industry?

In films, continuity ensures consistent settings, costumes, and storyline across scenes.

#### How does continuity benefit storytelling?

Continuity offers a seamless narrative, enhancing the viewer's immersive experience.

#### Can you give an example of discontinuity in nature?

Geological fault lines are a form of discontinuity in the Earth's crust.

#### What does continuity emphasize in developmental theories?

Continuity emphasizes a gradual and consistent developmental process.

#### Are discontinuities always unwanted?

No, sometimes discontinuities are intentionally introduced, like in art or narratives, to create a specific effect.

#### Can a process have both continuity and discontinuity?

Yes, a process can be largely continuous but have moments of discontinuity.

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