Recurring vs. Reoccurring: Understanding The Difference

In the English language, certain words may appear similar but have distinct meanings and applications. One such pair of words that often causes confusion is “recurring” and “reoccurring.” In this article, we will explore the differences between these two terms and provide clarity on their usage, helping English learners to communicate with precision and confidence.

The Main Difference Between Recurring and Reoccurring

Recurring vs. Reoccurring: Unraveling the Language Conundrum

Recurring vs. Reoccurring: Key Takeaways

  • Recurring” denotes events that happen at regular intervals.
  • Reoccurring” suggests a one-time or irregular repetition.

Recurring vs. Reoccurring: The Definition

What Does Recurring Mean?

Recurring refers to something that happens repeatedly or at regular intervals. It is often used to describe events, situations, or patterns that occur more than once, either in a predictable manner or with some degree of frequency.

  • For example, a recurring meeting is one that takes place regularly, such as weekly or monthly. In the context of finances, recurring expenses are those that occur regularly, such as monthly bills.

What Does Reoccurring Mean?

Reoccurring describes an event that happens again, albeit less predictably and possibly only once. A reoccurring event is one that happens at least once more, yet without a defined pattern. It may or may not continue to occur in the future.

Context Recurring Reoccurring
Definition Regular repetition Irregular or one-time repetition
Frequency Predictable Unpredictable
Example Monthly subscription fees are recurring payments. A reoccurring dream might happen several times but not with a set frequency.

Tips To Remember The Differences

  • Think of “recurring” as “re-current” indicating a current event that happens over and over.
  • Associate “reoccurring” with the rare or extraordinary, since its occurrences are not on a timetable.

Recurring vs. Reoccurring: Examples

Example Sentences Using Recurring

  • Your recurring meetings are scheduled every Monday at 9 a.m.
  • Jane’s recurring role on the show has gained her a steady fan base.
  • The recurring theme in the novel highlights the author’s message about resilience.
  • We need to address the recurring issues in our production process to improve efficiency.
  • His recurring nightmares were a cause of concern for his mental health.
  • The company experienced recurring financial challenges due to market fluctuations.

Example Sentences Using Reoccurring

  • After the accident, Mark experienced reoccurring headaches that appeared sporadically.
  • The reoccurring glitch in the software frustrated users because it happened without warning.
  • The reoccurring appearance of the comet is a sight to behold for astronomers.
  • His reoccurring acts of generosity have earned him a reputation as a philanthropist.
  • The reoccurring discovery of ancient artifacts in the region has sparked great interest among archaeologists.
  • The reoccurring sighting of the rare bird species has excited birdwatchers in the area.

Related Confused Words

Recurring vs. Regular

The main difference between “recurring” and “regular” lies in the nature of repetition.

While both terms involve repetition, “recurring” emphasizes the repeated nature of an event or action, often implying a cyclical pattern. In contrast, “regular” emphasizes the consistent and predictable occurrence of something without necessarily implying a specific pattern of repetition.


  • The company faces recurring issues with its outdated software systems.
  • The team has a regular meeting every Monday morning to discuss project updates.

Reoccurring vs. Cyclical

While both terms involve repetition, “reoccurring” emphasizes the repeated nature of an event or action without necessarily implying a specific order or pattern. In contrast, “cyclical” emphasizes the predictable and structured nature of the repetition, often implying a regular sequence or pattern of events.


  • The reoccurring problem with the internet connection needs to be addressed.
  • The economy experiences cyclical fluctuations, including periods of growth and recession.

Frequently Asked Questions

What distinguishes a recurring meeting from a meeting that happens repeatedly?

A recurring meeting is scheduled to occur at regular intervals, such as weekly staff meetings. In contrast, a meeting that happens repeatedly might not follow a set schedule, occurring more sporadically.

In medical terms, what is the difference between conditions tagged as recurring versus those identified as reoccurring?

In medical terminology, a recurring condition is one that returns periodically and predictably, like seasonal allergies. A reoccurring condition refers to one that happens again but not necessarily with a predictable pattern, such as a sporadic migraine.

In the context of finance, how do recurring fees differ from reoccurring fees?

Recurring fees are charges that occur at predictable intervals, such as monthly service subscriptions. Reoccurring fees might happen irregularly and are not necessarily expected to repeat, like a one-time late payment fee that could happen more than once by chance.

What are the implications of using ‘recurring’ instead of ‘recurrent’ for describing patterns or issues?

Using ‘recurring’ suggests something that continuously occurs, possibly at regular intervals. The term ‘recurrent’ could imply that while something occurs multiple times, it might not be continuous or as predictable as something described as ‘recurring.’

Is there a general preference for using ‘recurring’ over ‘reoccurring’ for describing events or conditions, and if so, why?

There seems to be a general preference for ‘recurring’ to describe events or conditions that happen at regular, defined intervals because of its specificity. The term ‘reoccurring’ is less commonly used and typically reserved for events that repeat but lack predictable intervals.