What is the Difference between Imperative and Functional Programming?

When I first started learning about functional programming, I really wanted an answer to this question. I needed an answer to this question. Before learning about the benefits of each approach, before learning about the unique features in this language or that language, and certainly before learning about monads, I wanted to know: What is the essential difference between imperative and functional programming? If you've gone looking for an answer to this question, then you know it's pretty hard to find.

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