• 3-minute read
  • 15th January 2020

Overused Words: Synonyms for ‘Important’?

‘Important’ is a very useful word. But if you use it too often, your writing may become harder to read. As a result, it helps to know a few alternatives. Check out our guide to synonyms for ‘important’ below.

What Does ‘Important’ Mean?

The adjective ‘important’ means ‘of great value, meaning, or influence’:

The study produced some important results.

Here, we’re saying the study’s results were significant in some way. Ideally, we would then explain why the results are important and their consequences.

If we needed an adverb, we could use ‘importantly’ instead:

Importantly, our findings also confirm those of other studies.

We use this term when describing an action or framing a sentence.

It is fine to use these words in formal writing. But if you find yourself using them too much, you may want to try using some of the following synonyms.

Synonyms for ‘Important’ and ‘Importantly’

Some common synonyms for ‘important’ you may want to use include:

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  • Significant (e.g. The study produced some significant results)
  • Crucial (e.g. She played a crucial role in the project)
  • Vital (e.g. It is vital that we meet this deadline)
  • Critical (e.g. The method used is critical for the results achieved)
  • Major (e.g. We made a major decision about publishing rights)
  • Substantial (e.g. The theory has a substantial place in the literature)
  • Monumental (e.g. He is a monumental figure in history)
  • Historic (e.g. It is a historic achievement)

And if you need a synonym for ‘importantly’, you can try the following:

  • Significantly (e.g. The pilot study was significantly different)
  • Crucially (e.g. We were, crucially, misinformed of her intentions)
  • Vitally (e.g. Vitally, we gathered all the data required)
  • Critically (e.g. More critically, the equipment failed during testing)

You should, however, be careful about synonyms with narrow meanings. For instance, while ‘historic’ implies that something is important, it is specifically of historical importance. As such, you should only use ‘historic’ in place of ‘important’ if you’re discussing historical significance.

Beware the Thesaurus!

Finally, a quick warning: the thesaurus is not always your friend!

For instance, you might find ‘big’ listed as a synonym for ‘important’. In less formal writing, such as advertising copy, this would be fine:

We’ve got big news to share about our sale!

But ‘big’ would sound out of place in formal or academic writing:

The study produced some big results.

If you’re looking for synonyms for ‘important’ (or any word), then, make sure you know how to use it! This is mostly a matter of practice – reading and writing more until you get a sense of which terms you can use in which contexts. But having your work proofread can also help!

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