When it comes to winning in PTE, students from Bengaluru, Chennai or Coimbatore has great advantage of quality coaching from Sahasriya. Sahasriya leads the way with over 2500 successful students thus far, making it winning in PTE, a habit for many students. In Bengaluru or Chennai-Velachery and Porur or Coimbatore, the best success rate destination for English courses always ends up at Sahasriya. Thats why Sahasriya also provides value to students through its Interesting English series. Everyday’s note on important aspects of English language is a standing example of narrating experiences of winning in PTE. Today, it is about ‘Biannual‘ and ‘Semiannual‘.

Sometimes, English has more than one word that refers to the same idea. Other times, very similar words will refer to different ideas, introducing confusion.

That is the case with the words biannual and biennial, which appear nearly identical, but do not mean the same thing. Biannual carries the same meaning as semiannual, but what does biennial mean? Continue reading to find out.

When to Use Biannual

Winning in PTE BiannualWhat does biannual mean? Biannual is an adjective that specifies the frequency of occurrence. Something that is biannual happens twice a year.

Here are a few example sentences,

  • Equinoxes are biannual; one happens in March and in September.
  • If birthdays were biannual, humans would age twice as fast.
When to Use Semiannual

Winning in PTE SemiannualWhat does semiannual mean? Semiannual is also an adjective, and it also describes something that happens twice a year.

Here are some examples,

  • The finance department undertakes a semiannual full audit of all company expenses.
  • Semiannual raises boost employee morale, but also eat up profits.
  • The semiannual campus bacchanalia usually, but not always, occurs after semester finals are over.

In the modern day, most people use semiannual to avoid any confusion that arises from biannual vs. biennial.

When to Use Biennial

Winning in PTE BiennialWhat does biennial mean? A third adjective, biennial, describes something that occurs every other year. This term is often confused with biannual due to their similarity in spelling.

Here are some examples of biennial in a sentence,

  • The school students had to forgo their biennial trip to adventure places due to the accident.
  • The biennial Rajya Sabha elections in India often give the illusion of hope for the party in minority.
Trick to Remember the Difference

These words are so similar that it’s easy to confuse them in your writing. To avoid inadvertently misleading your readership, you should strive to write as clearly as possible.

To this end, best practice is to write around the confusion introduced by these terms. Use semiannual to refer to things which happen twice a year.

Since the prefix semi- refers to half or part or something, you can use it to remind yourself that something that is semiannual only goes part of a year before happening again.

If, however, you want to keep using biannual and biennial, here is a trick to remember the difference. You can think of the “E” in biennial as standing for “every other year.”


Is it biannual or semiannual? Biannual, biennial, and semiannual are adjectives that describe the frequency at which events occur.

  • Biannual and semiannual mean twice a year.
  • Biennial means every other year.

For the sake of clarity, it would be best to avoid all of these terms and simply write twice a year or every other year. However, writers must balance clarity with concision, making semiannual a useful choice for something that happens at that frequency.

Since semi- means half or part, it will be easy to remember that you only need to wait part of a year before something semiannual happens again.

This daily series is an effort by Sahasriya in providing best writing and speaking practices to score 79 in PTE Writing and beyond. These vital tips ensures a student’s aspiration of winning in PTE is more effective with Sahasriya which is what hundreds of students benefit from everyday.

About Govind Desikan

AvatarGovind, a master of English language has taken to sharing his experience on English language and focus specifically on finer inputs on English language, IELTS and PTE exams through his posts here.

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