important

This article series aims to eliminate usage errors and help non-native speakers to write clearly and fluently. We suggest that you always do proper research and use style guides effectively. For anything you are not sure of, feel free to ask us.

Misused word

important

Alternatives
large, significant.

Explanation
“Important” is often wrongly used to mean “big” (“the most important power station in France”); it actually means: “strongly affecting the course of events or the nature of things” or “having or suggesting a consciousness of high position or authority.”

Example
  “The annual accounts give detailed information on the financial corrections confirmed, implemented and to be implemented and explain the reasons for which an important amount is still to be implemented.”

  “The annual accounts give detailed information on the financial corrections confirmed, implemented and to be implemented and explain the reasons for which a significant amount is still to be implemented.”

Source
Misused English words and expressions in EU publications by Jeremy Gardner [Updated 8.11.2013]

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One Comment

  1. Ümit Yakup Dural

    The word “important” is very dangerous with potential for misuse and may be an indicator for level of translation skills. At the same time, it is an important measure whether you have caught the soul of the content of the source text.

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