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  1. Newbie
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    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 4
    #1

    Usuage of "vital"

    Hi everyone,

    I found this sentence in newspaper

    "As the top judge, he has been symbolic of the judicial power vital to Hong Kong's success."

    OK, I can understand the first part until "judicial power", But,

    how come they can the adjective "vital" in the behind part of the sentence?
    what noun is this adjective describing in this sentence? are we usually do sth like this? any example?

    Thanks.


    • Join Date: Jun 2006
    • Posts: 99
    #2

    Re: Usuage of "vital"

    Vital modifies the noun, power. This is a normal construction.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Usuage of "vital"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasum View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I found this sentence in newspaper

    "As the top judge, he has been symbolic of the judicial power vital to Hong Kong's success."

    OK, I can understand the first part until "judicial power", But,

    how come they can the adjective "vital" in the behind part of the sentence?
    what noun is this adjective describing in this sentence? are we usually do sth like this? any example?

    Thanks.
    It means "the judicial power [which is] vital to Hong Kong."
    Here are some more normal sentences where you can insert a mental "which is" or "who is", "which was" etc:
    I need an answer useful to me = I need a useful answer.
    We walked through the garden covered in leaves.
    He is a man lucky to be alive.
    It was a decision significant to the outcome of the talks.

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Usuage of "vital"

    Another difficulty in understanding this is that the word "vital" can have a sense related to it's Latin root (vita = life). You may have come across this usage on TV hospital soaps, in the expression "vital signs".

    But in this quote (OP), "vital" has a purely figurative sense, meaning something like "essential", which - coincidentally - has had a similar journey, etymologically speaking:

    vital -< vita = necessary for life
    essential -< esse ('to be') = necessary for being

    b


    • Join Date: Jun 2006
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    #5

    Re: Usuage of "vital"

    Thank you, Raymott, for this explanation! It will be helpful in my teaching.

  4. konungursvia's Avatar
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    • Join Date: Mar 2009
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    #6

    Re: Usuage of "vital"

    Bob's was great too

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