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  1. Innovation is, by its very nature, a never-ending process, one which is crucial to the continuing success of any organization and its customers.
  2. Innovation is, by its very nature, a never-ending process, one which is crucial to the continued success of any organization and its customers.

What's the difference between the two sentences?

1 Answer 1

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the continuing success is the same as: the ongoing success, and is not tied to a verb tense; it functions like a regular adjective.

the continued success is the past participle of the verb continue used as an adjective.

Other examples of the past participle as adjective clarify this:

- The forgotten son means the son that was forgotten

- The broken record means the record that was broken

- The continued success means the success that was continued

Thus, one could possibly write or say: The success that was continued [by the son, for example] can be easily shown.

If you try to put the success that was continued into your sentence, it really would not work grammatically or semantically:

  • [...] one which is crucial to the continued success of any organization and its customers. would mean

[...] one which is crucial to the success that was continued of any organization and its customers.

That would only apply to a past situation; not a sentence spoken or written at the present time about a situation like yours. Yours is a general statement in the present tense.

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  • link However, the link shows continued success is used more often than contunuing success.
    – user81157
    Commented Aug 25, 2018 at 15:12
  • Ok, there are many incorrect ones. Here is a correct one from one book: "Utah reported continued success in using NIRS for quality analyses of alfalfa hay and grasses in a breeding project. The sentence is in the past; yours is a general statement applicable as of the present time. Believe me, you want the success to be continuing in your case, and not continued. :) You do not want: a success that was continued. You want success that is continuing. That's the "structural test" using the grammar I gave examples of to be applied in a sentence.
    – Lambie
    Commented Aug 25, 2018 at 15:18
  • Well-explained! But 'The forgotten son' could also mean the son that has been forgotten' ; continued success means the success that has been continued. It is not necessarily a reference to the past.
    – user81157
    Commented Aug 25, 2018 at 15:24
  • @YongxueLaw No, the forgotten son, like the broken record, etc. parses to: was forgotten or was broken, grammar-wise. Of course, one can say or write the son that has been forgotten, but that is not "equal to" the form: the forgotten son. I'm afraid the continued success does refer to past time. That was the whole point of my explanation. Here are some others: the sung notes, the written word, the fallen woman, the viewed messages, the built structures, etc. The nouns + : was sung, was written, were viewed, were built. The present perfect can be used but has to be written out.
    – Lambie
    Commented Aug 25, 2018 at 15:30
  • the notes that have been sung, the words that have been written. Those are fine but they do not "back parse" to the past participle + the noun.
    – Lambie
    Commented Aug 25, 2018 at 15:32

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