'Recurring' vs 'Reoccurring': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on July 9, 2023

Are you unsure of the difference between 'recurring' vs. 'reoccurring?' If so, this guide will help.

Here is a quick answer:

  • 'Recurring' is an adjective that means taking place repeatedly or an adverb defined as happening over ad over.
  • 'Reoccurring' is a present tense verb meaning something is happening again or for the second time.

However, it would be best if you stuck around to learn more about these terms. Even experienced writers must consider the difference between these two words to ensure they use the correct term.

Learning the definitions, common usages, and accurate pronunciations will help you remember the difference and how to use 'recurring' vs. 'reoccurring' correctly.

What's the Difference Between 'Recurring' vs. 'Reoccurring?'

The difference between the first term and the latter is that:

  • 'recurring' means something happens repeatedly
  • 'reoccurring' implies that something is happening for the second time.

For example, if you repeatedly have a dream, it is called a 'recurring' dream, not a 'reoccurring' one. In comparison, you use the second word to say that something is or will happen again.

However, in some cases, you can use them as synonyms.

When to Use 'Recurring' vs. 'Reoccurring'

Now that you know the basics, let's look at when to use 'recurring' vs. 'reoccurring.'

  • Use 'recurring' when talking about something that happens many times.

For example, you could say:

Receiving a recurring payment from investments we made years ago helps us to live a more comfortable life in retirement.  

  • Use 'recurring' to refer to something that happens routinely.

For example, I might say:

The recurring charge from my electric provider is withdrawn from my bank account on the 5th of each month. 

  • Use 'recurring' to refer to a dream or nightmare you have repeatedly.

For example, you might hear someone say:

I had that recurring dream again. Sometimes I do not have it for years, and then it happens again. 

  • Use 'reoccurring' to say that something will happen again.

For example, you could say something like:

You are in luck! The performance you were so upset about missing is reoccurring this Saturday, and I got front-row tickets. 

  • You can use 'recurring' and 'reoccurring' as synonyms in the verb form.

For example, you might say:

The art show is reoccurring again. Do you want to go?


The art show is recurring again. Do you want to go?

  • You Do Not interchange' 'recurring' and 'reoccurring' when 'recurring' is an adjective.

For example, you should not substitute 'reoccurring' with 'recurring' when the latter is an adjective like this:

The recurring docuseries highlight the latest medical discoveries. 

Definition of 'Recurring': What Does 'Recurring' Mean?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines 'recurring' as an adjective that means:

  • Occurring, happening, or appearing repeatedly or multiple times

It can also be a present-tense verb that means:

  • To refer back to
  • To reconsider
  • To happen again and again periodically

Synonyms of 'Recurring'

  • Serial
  • Recurrent
  • Periodic
  • Occasional
  • Cyclical
  • Reoccurring
  • Continual
  • Seasonal
  • Sporadic
  • Rhythmic
  • Alternating

Definition of 'Reoccurring': What Does 'Reoccurring' Mean?

The same defines 'reoccurring' as a present-tense verb meaning:

  • Occurring or happening again
  • Happening a second time

Synonyms of 'Reoccurring'

  • Remaking
  • Recurring
  • Reprising
  • Recreating
  • Reinventing

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Recurring' vs. 'Reoccurring'

Learning pronunciation is helpful whether you are learning English as a second language or working on your writing skills. It can help you remember the definition and spelling of words and give you the confidence to use them in written and verbal communication.

So, here is a quick pronunciation guide you can follow:

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'recurring':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'reoccurring':


Sample Sentences Using 'Recurring' vs. 'Reoccurring'

Here are some sample sentences using 'recurring' vs. 'reoccurring.' Read them to learn how to use these words in different ways.


  • I have been having that creepy recurring dream more frequently lately.
  • Can you set up recurring payments for your utilities? That way, you do not have to worry about missing the bill.
  • Setting recurring payments up on your credit or debit card is best because they are easy to cancel.
  • When you give your bank account information for recurring payments, untrustworthy merchants can continue to charge your account after you cancel your service.
  • I canceled those recurring payments six months ago and realized they still charge me on the 21st of each month.
  • You should set recurring payments up around the dates that you get paid each month.


  • The show is reoccurring this weekend only. So, if you want to go, we should get tickets immediately.
  • I am upset that I missed the event during the two weeks when it was reoccurring. I have to get better at making time for the things I want to do.
  • We went to the store because I heard a rumor that its famous end-of-year sale was reoccurring this weekend, but it was not.
  • They canceled the concert on the day of the show, but they sent a link to sign up for text alert notifications of when the show will be reoccurring.
  • When you receive the notification with the date the show is reoccurring, you must respond with your current email address to confirm where you will receive your new tickets.
  • Whether or not the event is reoccurring this year is still up in the air. But we should hear a decision from the organization soon.

Final Word on the Difference Between 'Recurring' vs. 'Reoccurring'

Before you leave, let's review the difference between 'recurring' vs. 'reoccurring': 

  • 'Recurring' is an adjective and adverb that means something happens repeatedly. 
  • 'Reoccurring' is the present-tense form of the verb reoccur, and it means that something is happening again. 

Despite all that you learned about these terms, many writers find themselves wondering from time to time which to use. So, if you find yourself in that situation, you can always come back to this lesson for a quick review.

You can also learn a lot about other commonly misused English terms in the other guides in the confusing words section here. Each post contains usage tips, definitions, pronunciations, and sample sentences. So, they are an excellent way to expand your vocabulary or brush up on your writing skills.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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