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    thincat is offline Member
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    Default Do we say "something is of the second/third importance"?

    Hello, everyone!
    I know that in English, especially in formal situation, we can say "something is of the utmost importance." But, if I would like to arrange three items in descending order with reference to their degree of importance, can I say that the second the the third item are of "the second/third importance"? If not, what is the correct expression to be used?

    Thank you very much!

  2. #2
    Grumpy's Avatar
    Grumpy is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Do we say "something is of the second/third importance"?

    You could refer to them, respectively, as being of "secondary" and then "tertiary" importance - but that would be extremely formal, even pompous. More common, in grading 3 items, would be to say "A is most important, followed by B, and then C".
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

  3. #3
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    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Do we say "something is of the second/third importance"?

    I don't think "secondary" sounds pompous. I confess that I use "tertiary" myself, though not many do. But while someone might roll their eyes over "tertiary" I don't think they do over "secondary."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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