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Partly Cloudy vs. Partly Sunny: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 12, 2024
Partly cloudy refers to a condition with more clouds than sun, while partly sunny indicates more sun than clouds.

Key Differences

Partly cloudy describes weather conditions where clouds cover a significant part of the sky but also allow some sunshine. Partly sunny, however, emphasizes the presence of sunshine, with clouds taking up less of the sky.
During a partly cloudy day, one can expect intervals of clouds and sun, with clouds being more dominant. In contrast, a partly sunny day suggests predominantly sunny conditions with some cloud coverage.
The term partly cloudy is often used for forecasts in the evening or night, indicating cloud coverage. Conversely, partly sunny is typically used for daytime forecasts, highlighting sunshine.
In partly cloudy conditions, the emphasis is on the cloudiness that may increase throughout the day. For partly sunny conditions, the expectation is more towards clear weather with occasional clouds.
Partly cloudy implies a gloomier outlook, while partly sunny conveys a more optimistic weather forecast, with sunshine being a significant factor.

Comparison Chart

Dominant Weather

More clouds than sun
More sun than clouds

Typical Use

Evening or night


On cloud coverage
On sunshine

General Outlook


Cloud/Sun Ratio

Higher cloud presence
Higher sun presence

Partly Cloudy and Partly Sunny Definitions

Partly Cloudy

Partly cloudy means more clouds than clear sky.
The forecast is partly cloudy, so we might see some sun.

Partly Sunny

Partly sunny means more sun than clouds.
The day is partly sunny, perfect for outdoor activities.

Partly Cloudy

Partly cloudy is commonly used for nighttime weather.
Tonight will be partly cloudy, ideal for stargazing between clouds.

Partly Sunny

Partly sunny suggests a mostly clear sky with some clouds.
It's partly sunny today, so we'll have plenty of light.

Partly Cloudy

Partly cloudy often implies potential for weather changes.
With it being partly cloudy, we should prepare for possible rain.

Partly Sunny

Partly sunny indicates a generally bright atmosphere.
On this partly sunny day, the garden looks vibrant.

Partly Cloudy

Partly cloudy indicates intermittent cloud coverage.
It's partly cloudy, but there's enough sun for a picnic.

Partly Sunny

Partly sunny is usually associated with daytime forecasts.
Tomorrow's forecast is partly sunny, great for a hike.

Partly Cloudy

Partly cloudy suggests cloud cover will not completely obscure the sun.
Despite being partly cloudy, it's still bright outside.

Partly Sunny

Partly sunny conveys an optimistic weather scenario.
Despite a partly sunny forecast, it's warm and pleasant.


How is cloud cover measured in a partly cloudy forecast?

Typically, 3/8 to 5/8 of the sky is covered with clouds.

Can it be partly cloudy at night?

Yes, it can refer to night conditions with some cloud cover.

Does partly cloudy mean rain?

Not necessarily. It just describes cloud coverage, not precipitation.

Does partly cloudy mean it's windy?

No, it only refers to cloud cover, not wind conditions.

Is partly cloudy more cloudy or sunny?

It generally suggests more clouds than sun, but still with significant clear spells.

Is partly cloudy common in certain climates?

It's a common forecast in many climates, especially transitional seasons.

How much of the sky is clear in partly sunny conditions?

Around 3/8 to 5/8 of the sky is usually clear.

What does "partly cloudy" mean in weather forecasts?

It indicates that clouds cover a portion of the sky, but there are also clear areas.

Does partly cloudy affect temperature?

Yes, more clouds can lead to slightly cooler temperatures.

Can partly cloudy skies clear up?

Yes, conditions can change, leading to clearer skies.

Is there a difference between partly cloudy and mostly sunny?

Yes, partly cloudy usually implies more clouds than mostly sunny.

Does partly sunny imply warmer temperatures?

Generally, yes, as there's more sunshine.

What does "partly sunny" mean?

It means that the sun will be out at times, but there will also be some cloud cover.

Is partly sunny more sunny or cloudy?

It typically suggests more sunshine than clouds.

Is partly sunny a common forecast?

Yes, especially in spring and fall in many regions.

Can it be partly sunny at night?

No, partly sunny specifically refers to daytime conditions.

Does partly sunny mean there will be no rain?

Not necessarily, as localized showers can occur even when it's partly sunny.

Can UV levels be high in partly sunny weather?

Yes, UV exposure can still be significant.

Does partly sunny weather affect outdoor activities?

It can be ideal for outdoor activities due to a balance of sun and cloud cover.

Is partly sunny different from partly cloudy?

They are similar but partly sunny emphasizes more sun, while partly cloudy suggests more clouds.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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