# Pattern vs. Sequence — What's the Difference?

By Urooj Arif & Fiza Rafique — Updated on April 6, 2024
Patterns are recurring designs or arrangements, emphasizing regularity and predictability, while sequences are ordered lists of elements, stressing the importance of arrangement and succession.

## Key Differences

A pattern refers to a repetition of specific designs, arrangements, or behaviors that follow a discernible method or plan, often identified by its predictability and regularity. It can be observed in various contexts, including nature, art, mathematics, and daily life, illustrating the underlying order within complex systems or structures. On the other hand, a sequence is a specific type of mathematical or logical arrangement where elements are ordered based on a particular rule or set of rules, highlighting the sequence's progression or chronological order.
While patterns focus on the repetition and regularity of elements, making them predictable, sequences emphasize the order and relationship between elements, which may or may not involve repetition. For example, a pattern might consist of a repeated motif in a wallpaper design, whereas a sequence might be a list of numbers ordered by a specific rule, such as the Fibonacci sequence.
Patterns are often used to identify and predict behavior in systems, such as weather patterns or behavioral patterns in psychology, based on the repetition of similar events or actions. Sequences, by contrast, are used to establish relationships between numbers or objects based on their position and can be utilized to solve problems or analyze trends, especially in mathematics and computer science.
In art and design, patterns are key to aesthetics, contributing to the visual rhythm and harmony within a piece. In mathematics and science, sequences are fundamental in understanding numerical relationships, algorithms, and even in modeling phenomena in physics and biology, showing the importance of order and progression in analytical and creative thinking.
The concept of a pattern can be broader and more abstract, applicable in more varied contexts beyond mathematics, including art, nature, and human behavior. Sequences are more specific, with a strong emphasis on mathematical or logical order, making them crucial in disciplines that rely on precision and analytical reasoning.

## Comparison Chart

### Definition

Recurrence of a design, arrangement, or behavior.
Ordered list of elements following a specific rule.

### Emphasis

Regularity and predictability.
Arrangement and succession.

### Contexts

Nature, art, mathematics, daily life.
Mathematics, logic, computer science.

### Key Feature

Repetition of elements.
Order and relationship between elements.

### Application

Identifying and predicting behavior, aesthetics.
Solving problems, analyzing trends, modeling phenomena.

### Scope

Broad and abstract, applicable in varied contexts.
Specific, with emphasis on mathematical/logical order.

## Compare with Definitions

#### Pattern

Language learning involves understanding patterns in grammar and usage.

#### Sequence

Essential in mathematics and logic.
Understanding sequences is fundamental in calculus.

#### Pattern

A repeating design or arrangement.
The fabric featured a complex pattern of interlocking circles.

#### Sequence

Stresses the importance of order and succession.
The sequence of events was crucial in solving the mystery.

#### Pattern

Predictable behavior or structure.
The migration pattern of these birds is remarkably consistent each year.

#### Sequence

An ordered list of numbers or objects.
The sequence of prime numbers begins with 2, 3, 5, 7...

#### Pattern

Emphasizes regularity and repetition.
His daily routine followed a strict pattern of activities.

#### Sequence

Follows a specific rule or arrangement.
Each number in the sequence is twice the previous one.

#### Pattern

Found in various contexts beyond mathematics.
Pattern recognition is crucial in diagnosing diseases.

#### Sequence

Can model phenomena or solve problems.
The sequence helped predict the outcome of the experiment.

#### Pattern

A pattern is a regularity in the world, in human-made design, or in abstract ideas. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner.

#### Sequence

In mathematics, a sequence is an enumerated collection of objects in which repetitions are allowed and order matters. Like a set, it contains members (also called elements, or terms).

#### Pattern

A usually repeating artistic or decorative design
A paisley pattern.

#### Sequence

A particular order in which related things follow each other
The poems should be read in sequence
The content of the programme should follow a logical sequence

#### Pattern

A natural or accidental arrangement or sequence
The pattern of rainfall over the past year.

#### Sequence

A set of related events, movements, or items that follow each other in a particular order
A gruelling sequence of exercises
A sonnet sequence

#### Pattern

A plan, diagram, or model to be followed in making things
A dress pattern.

#### Sequence

A part of a film dealing with one particular event or topic
The famous underwater sequence

#### Pattern

A model or original used for imitation or as an archetype.

#### Sequence

(in the Eucharist) a hymn said or sung after the Gradual or Alleluia that precedes the Gospel.

#### Pattern

A composite of traits or features characteristic of an individual or a group
One's pattern of behavior.

#### Sequence

Arrange in a particular order
Trainee librarians decide how a set of misfiled cards could be sequenced

#### Pattern

Form and style in an artistic work or body of artistic works.

#### Sequence

Play or record (music) with a sequencer.

#### Pattern

The configuration of gunshots upon a target that is used as an indication of skill in shooting.

#### Sequence

A following of one thing after another; succession.

#### Pattern

The distribution and spread, around a targeted region, of spent shrapnel, bomb fragments, or shot from a shotgun.

#### Sequence

An order of succession; an arrangement.

#### Pattern

Enough material to make a complete garment.

#### Sequence

A related or continuous series.

A test pattern.

#### Sequence

(Games) Three or more playing cards in consecutive order and usually the same suit; a run.

#### Pattern

The flight path of an aircraft about to land
A flight pattern.

#### Sequence

A series of related shots that constitute a complete unit of action in a movie.

#### Pattern

(Football) A pass pattern.

#### Sequence

(Music) A melodic or harmonic pattern successively repeated at different pitches with or without a key change.

#### Pattern

To make, mold, or design by following a pattern
We patterned this plan on the previous one. My daughter patterned her military career after her father's.

#### Sequence

Roman Catholic Church A hymn sung between the gradual and the Gospel.

#### Pattern

To cover or ornament with a design or pattern.

#### Sequence

(Mathematics) An ordered set of quantities, as x, 2x2, 3x3, 4x4.

#### Pattern

To make a pattern.

#### Sequence

(Biochemistry) The order of constituents in a polymer, especially the order of nucleotides in a nucleic acid or of the amino acids in a protein.

Model, example.

#### Sequence

To organize or arrange in a sequence.

#### Pattern

Something from which a copy is made; a model or outline.

#### Sequence

To determine the order of constituents in (a polymer, such as a nucleic acid or protein molecule).

#### Pattern

Someone or something seen as an example to be imitated; an exemplar.

#### Sequence

A set of things next to each other in a set order; a series

A copy.

#### Sequence

(uncountable) The state of being sequent or following; order of succession.
Complete the listed tasks in sequence.

#### Pattern

A sample; of coins, an example which was struck but never minted.

#### Sequence

A series of musical phrases where a theme or melody is repeated, with some change each time, such as in pitch or length (example: opening of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony).

#### Pattern

A representative example.

#### Sequence

A musical composition used in some Catholic Masses between the readings. The most famous sequence is the Dies Irae (Day of Wrath) formerly used in funeral services.

#### Pattern

(US) The material needed to make a piece of clothing.

#### Sequence

(mathematics) An ordered list of objects, typically indexed with natural numbers.

#### Pattern

(textiles) The paper or cardboard template from which the parts of a garment are traced onto fabric prior to cutting out and assembling.

#### Sequence

A subsequent event; a consequence or result.

#### Pattern

A full-sized model around which a mould of sand is made, to receive the melted metal. It is usually made of wood and in several parts, so as to be removed from the mould without damage.

#### Sequence

A series of shots that depict a single action or style in a film, television show etc.

#### Pattern

(computing) A text string containing wildcards, used for matching.
There were no files matching the pattern `*.txt`.

#### Sequence

(card games) A meld consisting of three or more cards of successive ranks in the same suit, such as the four, five and six of hearts.

#### Pattern

A design pattern.

#### Sequence

(transitive) to arrange in an order

#### Pattern

Coherent or decorative arrangement.

#### Sequence

To determine the order of things, especially of amino acids in a protein, or of bases in a nucleic acid

#### Pattern

A design, motif or decoration, especially formed from regular repeated elements.

#### Sequence

(transitive) to produce (music) with a sequencer

#### Pattern

A naturally-occurring or random arrangement of shapes, colours etc. which have a regular or decorative effect.

#### Sequence

The state of being sequent; succession; order of following; arrangement.
How art thou a kingBut by fair sequence and succession?
Sequence and series of the seasons of the year.

#### Pattern

The given spread, range etc. of shot fired from a gun.

#### Sequence

That which follows or succeeds as an effect; sequel; consequence; result.
The inevitable sequences of sin and punishment.

#### Pattern

A particular sequence of events, facts etc. which can be understood, used to predict the future, or seen to have a mathematical, geometric, statistical etc. relationship.

#### Sequence

Simple succession, or the coming after in time, without asserting or implying causative energy; as, the reactions of chemical agents may be conceived as merely invariable sequences.

#### Pattern

(linguistics) An intelligible arrangement in a given area of language.

#### Sequence

Any succession of chords (or harmonic phrase) rising or falling by the regular diatonic degrees in the same scale; a succession of similar harmonic steps.

#### Pattern

A sequence of notes, percussion etc. in a tracker module, usable once or many times within the song.

#### Sequence

A hymn introduced in the Mass on certain festival days, and recited or sung immediately before the gospel, and after the gradual or introit, whence the name.
Originally the sequence was called a Prose, because its early form was rhythmical prose.

#### Pattern

To apply a pattern.

#### Sequence

Three or more cards of the same suit in immediately consecutive order of value; as, ace, king, and queen; or knave, ten, nine, and eight.

#### Pattern

To make or design (anything) by, from, or after, something that serves as a pattern; to copy; to model; to imitate.

#### Sequence

The specific order of any linear arrangement of items; as, the sequence of amino acid residues in a protein; the sequence of instructions in a computer program; the sequence of acts in a variety show.

#### Sequence

To determine the sequence of; as, to sequence a protein or a DNA fragment.

#### Pattern

To fit into a pattern.

#### Sequence

Serial arrangement in which things follow in logical order or a recurrent pattern;
The sequence of names was alphabetical
He invented a technique to determine the sequence of base pairs in DNA

#### Pattern

(transitive) To serve as an example for.

#### Sequence

A following of one thing after another in time;
The doctor saw a sequence of patients

#### Pattern

To observe an animal closely over time in order to discern its habitual movements and behaviours.

#### Sequence

Film consisting of a succession of related shots that develop a given subject in a movie

#### Pattern

(MLE) To arrange, to organise, to fix.

#### Sequence

The action of following in order;
He played the trumps in sequence

#### Pattern

Of or in accordance with a usual pattern, or type; model; ideal.

#### Sequence

Several repetitions of a melodic phrase in different keys

#### Pattern

Anything proposed for imitation; an archetype; an exemplar; that which is to be, or is worthy to be, copied or imitated; as, a pattern of a machine.
I will be the pattern of all patience.

#### Sequence

Arrange in a sequence

#### Pattern

A part showing the figure or quality of the whole; a specimen; a sample; an example; an instance.
He compares the pattern with the whole piece.

#### Sequence

Determine the order of constituents in;
They sequenced the human genome

#### Pattern

Stuff sufficient for a garment; as, a dress pattern.

#### Pattern

Figure or style of decoration; design; as, wall paper of a beautiful pattern.

#### Pattern

Something made after a model; a copy.
The patterns of things in the heavens.

#### Pattern

Anything cut or formed to serve as a guide to cutting or forming objects; as, a dressmaker's pattern.

#### Pattern

A full-sized model around which a mold of sand is made, to receive the melted metal. It is usually made of wood and in several parts, so as to be removed from the mold without injuring it.

#### Pattern

A recognizable characteristic relationship or set of relationships between the members of any set of objects or actions, or the properties of the members; also, the set having a definable relationship between its members.

#### Pattern

A diagram showing the distribution of the pellets of a shotgun on a vertical target perpendicular to the plane of fire.

#### Pattern

The recommended flight path for an airplane to follow as it approaches an airport for a landing. Same as landing pattern.

#### Pattern

An image or diagram containing lines, usually horizontal, vertical, and diagonal, sometimes of varying widths, used to test the resolution of an optical instrument or the accuracy of reproduction of image copying or transmission equipment. Same as test pattern.

#### Pattern

To make or design (anything) by, from, or after, something that serves as a pattern; to copy; to model; to imitate.

#### Pattern

To serve as an example for; also, to parallel.

#### Pattern

A perceptual structure;
The composition presents problems for students of musical form
A visual pattern must include not only objects but the spaces between them

#### Pattern

A customary way of operation or behavior;
It is their practice to give annual raises
They changed their dietary pattern

#### Pattern

A decorative or artistic work;
The coach had a design on the doors

#### Pattern

Something regarded as a normative example;
The convention of not naming the main character
Violence is the rule not the exception
His formula for impressing visitors

#### Pattern

A model considered worthy of imitation;
The American constitution has provided a pattern for many republics

#### Pattern

Something intended as a guide for making something else;
A blueprint for a house
A pattern for a skirt

#### Pattern

The path that is prescribed for an airplane that is preparing to land at an airport;
The traffic patterns around O'Hare are very crowded
They stayed in the pattern until the fog lifted

#### Pattern

Graphical representation (in polar or cartesian coordinates) of the spatial distribution of radiation from an antenna as a function of angle

#### Pattern

Plan or create according to a model or models

#### Pattern

Form a pattern;
These sentences pattern like the ones we studied before

## Common Curiosities

#### What is a pattern?

A pattern is a recurring design or behavior that follows a discernible regularity, applicable in various contexts from nature to art.

#### What is a sequence?

A sequence is an ordered arrangement of elements that follows a specific rule or set of rules, primarily used in mathematical contexts.

#### Can a sequence be a pattern?

Yes, a sequence can exhibit a pattern if the elements follow a repetitive rule, making sequences a subset of patterns in certain contexts.

#### Why are patterns important?

Patterns are important for identifying and predicting behaviors in systems, understanding aesthetic designs, and simplifying complex concepts.

#### How do patterns differ from sequences?

Patterns emphasize repetition and predictability across a broad range of contexts, while sequences focus on the order and succession of elements within a specific mathematical or logical framework.

#### Can patterns change over time?

Yes, patterns can evolve or change as new elements are introduced or when variations occur within the repeating motif or behavior.

#### Are patterns always visual?

No, patterns can be conceptual, such as patterns in behavior or language, not just visual designs or arrangements.

#### How do patterns and sequences contribute to problem-solving?

Patterns aid in predicting outcomes and simplifying complex systems, while sequences provide a framework for organizing information and analyzing relationships.

#### What role do sequences play in mathematics?

Sequences help in analyzing numerical relationships, solving problems, and modeling phenomena, demonstrating the progression of elements based on defined rules.

#### What types of sequences are there?

There are various types of sequences, including arithmetic, geometric, and Fibonacci, each defined by a unique set of rules for the succession of elements.

#### How are sequences used in computer science?

Sequences are used in algorithms, data structure organization, and programming logic, aiding in the efficient processing and analysis of data.

#### How do patterns and sequences interact in nature?

In nature, patterns often manifest through repetitive structures or behaviors, while sequences can describe the order of processes or events, illustrating the interconnectedness of the natural world.

#### How are patterns identified?

Patterns are identified through observation and analysis, looking for recurring motifs, behaviors, or arrangements that exhibit regularity.

#### Can a sequence be without a pattern?

While sequences follow specific rules, some may not exhibit a clear pattern if the rules do not lead to repetition or predictability.

#### Why is understanding patterns and sequences fundamental in education?

Understanding patterns and sequences enhances analytical thinking, problem-solving skills, and the ability to recognize relationships and predict outcomes across disciplines.

Share via Social Media
Embed This Content
Embed Code
Share Directly via Messenger