What is the Difference Between Persistence and Perseverance

The main difference between persistence and perseverance is that persistence is the quality of stubbornly or resolutely continuing something in spite of opposition, whereas perseverance is the continued steady belief or efforts in spite of opposition.

Although the two terms persistence and perseverance are often used interchangeably due to their similarity in appearance and meaning, there is a subtle difference between them. In fact, both refer to the quality of continuing a belief or effort in spite of discouragement and obstacles. However, persistence has a negative connotation, whereas perseverance doesn’t.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Persistence 
     – Definition, Meaning, Examples
2. What is Perseverance
     – Definition, Meaning, Examples
3. What are the Similarities Between Persistence and Perseverance
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Persistence and Perseverance
    – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Persistence, Perseverance

Difference Between Persistence and Perseverance - Comparison Summary

What is Persistence

Persistence refers to the quality of stubbornly or resolutely continuing something in spite of opposition, importunity, or warning. In other words, this refers to continuing an action or behaviour, without giving up.

Although persistence is often seen as a virtue, it can also lead to one’s downfall. For example, putting up with a job you hate, staying in a toxic relationship just for the sake of persistence can make your life miserable. Moreover, persistence can refer to mindlessly pursuing something for the sake of pursuit; for instance, debt collectors, telemarketers, etc. Thus, the term persistence has a negative connotation as well. Furthermore, we can use this term whether the purpose of the continuing action is bad, good or neutral.

Main Difference - Persistence vs Perseverance

Example Sentences:

His dogged persistence annoyed me.
Although she is not very talented, she achieved her goals by sheer persistence.
Our persistence finally paid off when the insurance company agreed to pay for the damage.

What is Perseverance

Perseverance refers to continued steady belief or efforts in spite of discouragement or difficulty. In other words, it means continuing with something even though it is difficult, or in spite of many obstacles. This term originates from the Latin perseverantia, which means to abide by something strictly.

When you persevere, you continue or repeat a behaviour. Unlike in persisting, a person who perseveres is not illogically resolute or stubborn, instead, he or she is calm, steady and strong. Thus, this term has a positive connotation. We use this term when we are talking about a good purpose or a desirable goal. For example, a person who sailed around the world or a person who climbed Mount Everest shows a great degree of perseverance.

Difference Between Persistence and Perseverance

Example Sentences:

Through hard work and perseverance, she worked her way up to the top.
Confidence, perseverance, and resilience are values everyone should cultivate.
He achieved that position because he showed great perseverance in the face of difficulty.

If you compare the example sentences given above for both persistence and perseverance, you’ll notice that they often indicate a similar meaning and can be used interchangeably.

Similarities Between Persistence and Perseverance

  • These two terms refer to the quality of continuing a belief or effort in spite of discouragement and obstacles.
  • They can often be used interchangeably.

Difference Between Persistence and Perseverance

Definition

Persistence is the quality of stubbornly or resolutely continuing something in spite of opposition, whereas perseverance is the continued steady belief or efforts in spite of opposition.

Purpose of the Continued Action

We can use the term persistence to refer to actions whose purpose is either bad, good or neutral whereas we usually use the term perseverance to refer to actions with good purposes or desirable goals.

Qualities Associated

Qualities like stubbornness, illogical determination, single-mindedness can be associated with persistence whereas qualities like calmness, steadfastness, and strength are associated with perseverance.

Connotation

While persistence has a negative connotation as it often indicates stubborn or illogical resolute, perseverance usually has a positive connotation.

Conclusion

Persistence is the quality of stubbornly or resolutely continuing something in spite of opposition whereas perseverance is the continued steady belief or efforts in spite of opposition. The main difference between persistence and perseverance is that persistence has a negative connotation as it often indicates stubborn or illogical resolute, while perseverance usually has a positive connotation.

Image Courtesy:

1. “2015253” (CC0) via Pixabay
2. “2420708” (CC0) via Pixabay

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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