Ask Difference

Proceeding vs. Succeeding — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Maham Liaqat — Updated on March 22, 2024
Proceeding refers to the action of moving forward or continuing with a course of action, while succeeding implies following after something in order or sequence, or achieving success.
Proceeding vs. Succeeding — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Proceeding and Succeeding


Key Differences

Proceeding is often used to describe the action of moving forward or onward in a physical or metaphorical sense. It indicates the continuation of actions, processes, or events already in motion. On the other hand, succeeding can refer to the act of coming after something in time or order, or it can mean achieving success in a particular endeavor. This dual meaning enriches its usage in various contexts.
When discussing a series of events, proceeding highlights the ongoing nature of an action or series of actions, suggesting a seamless flow from one stage to another. Whereas, succeeding emphasizes the sequential aspect, focusing on the transition from what precedes to what follows. This distinction is crucial in understanding the temporal or logical relationship between different elements.
In legal or formal documents, proceeding is a term frequently used to refer to the act of pursuing a particular course of action, especially in a legal context, such as a lawsuit or hearing. Succeeding, on the other hand, might be used to describe the order of inheritance or succession, highlighting the importance of sequence and hierarchy in legal terms.
In the context of instructions or steps, proceeding is used to indicate the next action to be taken in a process, emphasizing continuity and progression. Conversely, succeeding might be employed to instruct on the step that follows after the current one, underlining the importance of following a predetermined sequence or order.
From a personal or career development perspective, proceeding implies the ongoing effort to move forward, pursue goals, or advance in one's journey. In contrast, succeeding captures the achievement of these goals, focusing on the outcome of efforts and the realization of aspirations.

Comparison Chart


Moving forward or onward in a course of action.
Coming after something in sequence, or achieving success.

Context of Use

Describes ongoing actions or processes.
Refers to the sequence or the achievement of success.


Emphasizes continuation and progress.
Highlights order, sequence, or successful outcomes.

Common Usage

Often used in legal, formal, and process-oriented contexts.
Used in legal terms, personal achievements, and sequences.


On the action of continuing.
On the relationship to what comes before or the outcome.

Compare with Definitions


It signifies moving forward or making progress.
Despite the obstacles, we are proceeding cautiously.


It also refers to achieving success or accomplishing a goal.
She is focusing on succeeding in her new business venture.


It often denotes the act of going ahead with something.
After the brief pause, the group decided to proceed with their journey.


It can denote the act of following up.
The success of the initial phase was critical for succeeding efforts.


In legal contexts, it pertains to the conduct of a lawsuit or action.
The court is not in favor of proceeding with the trial without further evidence.


Succeeding means coming after something in sequence.
In the succeeding chapters, the plot thickens dramatically.


Proceeding can also imply conducting or carrying out activities.
The conference is proceeding smoothly, according to the schedule.


Succeeding emphasizes the aftermath or consequence of prior actions.
The research builds on the findings of succeeding studies.


Proceeding refers to the act of continuing with an action or process.
The team is proceeding with the project as planned.


In a legal context, succeeding might relate to inheritance or succession.
He is succeeding his father as the head of the company.


A course of action; a procedure.


To come next in time or order
She fell sick, and what succeeded was an outpouring of concern from her fans.


Proceedings A sequence of events occurring at a particular place or occasion
Hectic proceedings in the kitchen.


To replace another in office or position
The prince succeeded to the throne.


Proceedings A record of business carried on by a society or other organization; minutes.


To accomplish something desired or intended
"Success is counted sweetest / By those who ne'er succeed" (Emily Dickinson).


Often proceedings Legal action; litigation.


(Obsolete) To pass to a person by way of inheritance.


Often proceedings The activities and hearings of a legal body or administrative agency.


To come after (something) in time or order; follow
Winter succeeds autumn.


The institution or pursuance of legal action.


To come after and take the place of
The heir succeeded the king.


Present participle of proceed


Following, next in order.


The act of one who proceeds, or who prosecutes a design or transaction


Present participle of succeed


An event or happening; something that happens




(always in plural) A published collection of papers presented at an academic conference, or representing the acts of a learned society.


The act of one who, or that which, succeeds; also, that which succeeds, or follows after; consequence.


Progress or movement from one thing to another.


Coming after or following


A measure or step taken in a course of business; a transaction
An illegal proceeding
A cautious or a violent proceeding


(of elected officers) elected but not yet serving;
Our next president


(legal) Any legal action, especially one that is not a lawsuit.


The act of one who proceeds, or who prosecutes a design or transaction; progress or movement from one thing to another; a measure or step taken in a course of business; a transaction; as, an illegal proceeding; a cautious or a violent proceeding.
The proceedings of the high commission.


The course of procedure in the prosecution of an action at law.


(law) the institution of a sequence of steps by which legal judgments are invoked

Common Curiosities

What does proceeding mean?

Proceeding refers to the act of moving forward or continuing with an action or series of actions.

What does succeeding mean?

Succeeding can mean either coming after something in order or achieving success in a particular endeavor.

How do proceeding and succeeding differ in legal contexts?

In legal contexts, proceeding often refers to the action of moving forward with a lawsuit or legal action, while succeeding may pertain to issues of inheritance or succession.

What does succeeding imply in a career context?

In a career context, succeeding implies achieving success or reaching predetermined career goals.

How is proceeding used in the context of a process?

It is used to denote the act of continuing with the next steps or phases in a process.

Is succeeding always related to time sequences?

Not always; succeeding can also mean achieving success, not just coming after something in time or order.

How do proceeding actions influence succeeding results?

Proceeding actions set the groundwork that determines the nature and success of succeeding outcomes.

How is succeeding used in narratives or literature?

In narratives, succeeding can describe events or elements that come after others in the storyline.

What is the importance of succeeding in personal development?

It denotes the achievement of personal goals or the successful attainment of desired outcomes.

In what contexts is proceeding commonly used?

Proceeding is commonly used in legal, formal, and process-oriented contexts to describe ongoing actions or efforts.

Can proceeding imply progress?

Yes, proceeding often implies making progress or moving forward in some manner.

Can proceeding and succeeding be used interchangeably?

No, they serve different purposes; proceeding emphasizes continuation, while succeeding focuses on sequence or achieving success.

What role does succeeding play in planning and strategy?

Succeeding is crucial in planning and strategy as it involves understanding sequences and aiming for successful outcomes.

How do proceeding and succeeding relate to each other?

Proceeding and succeeding are interconnected; effective proceeding (continuation and progress) often leads to succeeding (achieving success or coming after something in a sequence).

Can proceeding be seen as a prerequisite for succeeding?

Yes, in many cases, proceeding with certain actions or plans can be a prerequisite for achieving success (succeeding).

Share Your Discovery

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

Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

Popular Comparisons

Trending Comparisons

New Comparisons

Trending Terms