Difference Between Successor and Predecessor

Main Difference – Successor and Predecessor

The two terms successor and predecessor are related to the verbs succeed and precede respectively. Successor refers to a person or thing that succeeds another whereas predecessor refers a person or thing that precedes another. In other words, successor is something that comes after something else whereas predecessor is something that comes before something else. This is the main difference between successor and predecessor. These two words are commonly used when we are talking about a title, position or a job.

This article explains, 

1. What Does Successor Mean – Meaning and Usage of the word Successor

2. What Does Predecessor Mean – Meaning and Usage of the word Predecessor

3. What is the Difference Between Successor and PredecessorDifference Between Successor and Predecessor - Successor vs Predecessor Comparison Summary

What Does Successor Mean

Successor is a person or thing that succeeds another or comes after another. This can be specially used to refer to a person who has a job, position, office, or title after someone else. For example,

The king was reluctant to name his successor.

The iPhone 5 is the successor to iPhone 4S.

Louis XIV, known as the Sun king, was the successor to Louis III.

He named his nephew as his successor.

Mr. Gupta was appointed as a successor to Mrs. Anderson as party leader.

This latest song is not a worthy successor to their popular debut song.

Main Difference - Successor vs Predecessor

Bill Clinton was the successor to George H. W. Bush.

What Does Predecessor Mean

Predecessor is something or someone that comes before another. This can refer to a person who held a position or office before the current holder or a thing that has been followed or replaced by another. For example,

The new CEO’s ideas are very different from those of his predecessor.

Modern computers are faster than their predecessors.

Louis XIII is the predecessor of Louis XIV.

Mr. Xian’s predecessor was not known for his kindness. 

He had to pay dearly for his predecessor’s mistakes.

Difference Between Successor and Predecessor

King George VI was the predecessor of Queen Elizabeth II. 

Examples – Successor vs Predecessor

Now that you know the difference between successor and predecessor, let’s examine how they can be used in a sentence.

Suppose that the following names are given in chronological order.

Annette, Marie, Victor

  • Annette is the predecessor of Marie.
  • Marie is the successor to Annette.
  • Marie is the predecessor of Victor.

Difference Between Successor and Predecessor


Successor succeeds another or comes after another.

Predecessor precedes another or comes before another.


Successor is followed by the preposition to.

Predecessor is followed by the preposition of.

Image Courtesy:

“Bush and Clinton” By White House photo by Eric Draper – whitehouse.gov, Former Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton (Public Domain) via

“King George VI of England, formal photo portrait, circa 1940-1946″ By Bertram Park –  from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division ( digital ID matpc.14736) (Public Domain) via

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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