English : Biannual and Biennial

What is the difference between biannual and biennial?

By Mrs. Timothy, Germany – 20th May 2007.

An event that is held annually takes place once a year. The word bi, pronounced by, means two. So an event which is held biannually is one that is held twice a year.

Here is an example.

• The Chairman decided to make the Board Meeting a biannual event.

In this case, the Board will meet twice a year, perhaps every six months.

A biennial event, on the other hand, is one that takes place once in two years.

Here is an example.

• The Chairman decided to make the Board Meeting a biennial event.

In this case, the Board will meet once every two years. If it meets this year, its next meeting will be after next year.

The stress in both words is on the second syllable. The e in biennial is like the e in set, bet and get. One of the ways of pronouncing the second i is like the y in yes, yellow and young. The final a is like the a in China.

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