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Important / Importance

Aim: This exercise is to help you to write report findings and conclusions that describe how important something is.
Click here if you would like to download this explanation and exercise in MS Word format.

Introduction:
The Findings section of a report often describes the results of questionnaires or interviews. These often ask participants how important they think something is. However, students sometimes have grammatical problems describing importance because they get confused between 'important' and 'importance'.

Here is an example questionnaire item on importance of job satisfaction in choosing a career:

  Very Important Important Not Important Not at all Important
  1. How important is job satisfaction to you?

The results of the questionnaire can be written down in a table, like this:

Table1: Results of a Questionnaire for Students on Factors in Choosing a Career (n=100)
Question Very Important (%) Important (%) Not Important (%) Not at all Important (%)
  1. Job Satisfaction
30 60 5 5
  1. Parents' Wishes
10 30 50 10
  1. Interest in the Job Nature
30 40 20 10
  1. Opportunities for Promotion
35 45 20 0
  1. Opportunities to Work Overseas
10 30 40 20
  1. Contribution to Society
10 20 50 20

Note: (n=100) means that100 people answered the questionnaire correctly, and their answers are summarised here. 'n' stands for 'number'.

Example

Findings:
As shown in Table 1, the factors Job Satisfaction, Opportunities for Promotion and Interest in the Job Nature were given the highest ratings for importance in choosing a career. Well over half the students thought that Job Satisfaction was important, and nearly a third rated it as highly important. The importance of Opportunities for Promotion was shown by the 45% of students who regarded it as important and the 35% who saw it as very important. Interest in the Job Nature also scored highly, with over two-thirds of students saying that it was either important or very important. However, Opportunities to Work Overseas, Parents' Wishes and Contribution to Society were seen as of lesser importance, with over half the students regarding them as not important or not at all important.

Grammar to describe importance:

Word Part of Speech Example Phrase Example Sentence
important adjective - extremely important
- very important
- quite important
- not very important
- not at all important
Students saw Job Satisfaction as a very important factor.
Contribution to Society was seen as very important by social work students.
importance noun - of very high importance
- of high importance
- of medium importance
- of some importance
- of little importance
- of no importance
- the importance of...
Students saw Job Satisfaction as of great importance.
Contribution to Society was seen as of great importance by social work students.
The high importance of Interest in the Job Nature can be seen from the fact that 70% of students rated it as important or very important.
importantly adverb - very importantly
- most importantly
- more importantly
- less importantly
- least importantly
Most importantly, students gave the highest rating to Job Satisfaction, with nine out of ten students saying it was important or highly important.

 

Examples
Click here to see a of 'important' and 'importance'. Click on the link in the examples to see the full sentence.

Exercise
Choose the correct word from the drop-down list:

  1. He agreed that the crime rate, 1997 and other issues were , but said the deterioration of the environment had a strong impact on people's lives through poisoned seafood, polluted air and dirty beaches.

     

    Answer:
    He agreed that the crime rate, 1997 and other issues were important, but said the deterioration of the environment had a strong impact on people's lives through poisoned seafood, polluted air and dirty beaches.

    Explanation:
    There are 2 reasons to use 'important'.
    1. 'Issues' is a noun, and this word gives more information about this noun, so it is probably an adjective.
    2. The word before is 'were', a past tense plural form of the verb 'to be'. This verb usually goes before an adjective.

  2. However, 94 per cent said that lack of discipline in the home was the most cause of violent behaviour.

     

    Answer:
    However, 94 per cent said that lack of discipline in the home was the most important cause of violent behaviour.

    Explanation:
    In front of the noun 'cause' use 'important'.

  3. Mr Tong seconded Mr Yu's views, saying it was time for the media to recognise the of the market economy.

     

    Answer:
    Mr Tong seconded Mr Yu's views, saying it was time for the media to recognise the importance of the market economy.

    Explanation:
    Between 'the' and 'of' use 'importance'. The 3 words 'the importance of ' often go together, and can be followed by a noun or noun phrase, such as 'the market economy'.

  4. IRS says that the impact of impending tax rises on take-home pay "will be an factor" in pay negotiations over the coming months.

     

    Answer:
    IRS says that the impact of impending tax rises on take-home pay "will be an important factor" in pay negotiations over the coming months.

    Explanation:
    You should choose an adjective because the missing word gives more information about the noun 'factor'.

  5. The Secretary for Civil Service said the decision reflected members' belief in the of containing inflation.

     

    Answer:
    The Secretary for Civil Service said the decision reflected members' belief in the importance of containing inflation.

    Explanation:
    Between 'the' and 'of' use 'importance'. The 3 words 'the importance of ' often go together, and can be followed by an '_ing' verb and a noun, such as 'containing inflation'.

  6. It's quicker, cheaper and, most , safer than traditional forms of demolition.

     

    Answer:
    It's quicker, cheaper and, most importantly, safer than traditional forms of demolition.

    Explanation:
    There are 2 reasons:
    1) To give more information about an adjective such as 'safer', use an adverb such as 'importantly'.
    2) In a short phrase between 2 commas, if the first word is a comparative like 'more' and 'most',  it is usually followed by an adverb.

  7. Mr Arculli said the issues were of considerable .

     

    Answer:
    Mr Arculli said the issues were of considerable importance.

    Explanation:
    After 'were of' and an adjective that shows quantity such as 'considerable', use the noun 'importance'.

  8. But, more , staff had to be able to cope with the increasing cost of living.

     

    Answer:
    But, more importantly, staff had to be able to cope with the increasing cost of living.

    Explanation:
    In a short phrase between 2 commas, if the first word is a comparative like 'more' and 'most', it is usually followed by an adverb.

  9. The mass media are to arouse awareness, but if you want people to really practise environmental protection you need more education.

     

    Answer:
    The mass media are important to arouse awareness, but if you want people to really practise environmental protection you need more education.

    Explanation:
    'Are' is a form of the verb 'to be' and this verb often goes before an adjective.

  10. She also stressed the of balancing commercial interests with the social reasons for having programmes.

     

    Answer:
    She also stressed the importance of balancing commercial interests with the social reasons for having programmes.

    Explanation:
    Between 'the' and 'of' use 'importance'. The 3 words 'the importance of ' often go together, and can be followed by an '_ing' verb and a noun phrase.

  11. Your total score is:

 

Last updated on: Thursday, July 12, 2012