Consistent vs. constant – which form is correct?

Consistent vs. constant – which form is correct? These two words are very similar in the form and meaning and many people use them interchangeably but is it ok to do so? This is so confusing that it can give you a consistent headache! Or perhaps it is better to say – a constant headache? Read this article to find out!

Consistent vs. constant? Which form is correct meaning definition correct form difference examples

Consistent vs. constant – which one is correct?

Both consistent and constant are correct. However, they cannot be used interchangeably. Carry on reading to find out why.

Consistent vs. constant – what is the difference?

Consistent and constant are both adjectives related to the idea of regularity or continuity, but they have slightly different meanings. In a nutshell, the main difference is that consistent means unchanging while constant means unceasing. Read the following sections to make sure you know the definitions of both words.

Consistent – the meaning

Consistent means always behaving or happening in the same way or having the same opinions, standards, etc. In other words, it refers to something unchanging in nature, but in a positive way.

Constant – the meaning

Constant means happening a lot or all the time or staying the same. It describes something unchanging, fixed or always present.

So, to answer the question from the introduction to this article, the phrase consistent headache indicates that the intensity of the pain does not change while the phrase constant headache indicates that the pain occurs recurrently or it’s there all the time.

Read the final section for more examples of consistent and constant in a sentence.

Consistent vs. constant – examples from the literature and press

The prime minister said the UK government had been “absolutely consistent” that international law should be respected, and civilians should be protected.

BBC, Jan 24, 2024

“It is perhaps a fault with us detectives. We expect the behaviour to be always consistent. We do not allow for changes of mood.”

Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express

“The presence of illicit substances in the wider community is a constant challenge and we continue to work hard to safeguard staff, and those in our care, from the harm they cause.”

BBC, Jan 17, 2024

Now I thought about how hard it must be to clean a whole house, dress up, and cook dinner when taking care of a newborn that needed constant attention.

Sonja Thomas, Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence

Written by

After graduating with a MA in English Philology, Kasia lived for almost five years in the UK facing the challenge of trying to master the intricacies of English language, which is her consuming passion. Other things she enjoys doing in her spare time are singing in a local parish band, embroidery, reading, cycling, and enjoying the outdoors with her family and friends.