Urgent vs Important
Knowing the difference between urgent and important is very useful as urgent and important are two words that are often used, especially, in formal situations. Sometimes, even some people get these words confused with each other as if they mean the same thing. In fact, according to the Oxford English dictionary, both are different words that convey different senses. The word urgent is used in the sense of ‘requiring immediate action or attention’. On the other hand, the word important is used in the sense ‘of great significance or value’. This is the most important difference between urgent and important. Both urgent and important are used as adjectives.
What does Urgent mean?
The word urgent is used in the sense of requiring immediate action or attention. That means, whatever is urgent needs someone’s immediate reaction, without wasting time, whether that reaction is another action or reply. Look at the following examples.
This letter needs an urgent reply.
The manager convened an urgent meeting.
The patient was ushered into the hospital for an urgent checkup.
Now, in the first sentence given above, the word urgent is used in the sense of requiring immediate action or attention. So, the sentence means, ‘this letter needs an immediate reply.’ You could also say ‘answering this letter should be done immediately.’ Then, the second sentence also means the same sense. However, it uses urgent here to indicate an action or an event that is done as a response to an urgent situation. The sentence can be rewritten as ‘the manager convened an immediate meeting.’ Remember though, here the meeting was qualified using urgent as it is the reaction done for some kind of an urgent situation. The third sentence also carries the same meaning as the second sentence. This urgent checkup was necessary as the situation required an immediate reaction. So, the third sentence can be rewritten as ‘the patient was ushered into the hospital for an immediate checkup.’
What does Important mean?
The word important is used in the sense ‘of great significance or value.’ That means it does not carry the meaning immediate in anyway like urgent does. Have a look at the following sentences.
This is an important decision to make. So, think very carefully before you decide.
Lancelot is an important knight of King Arthur.
Look at the sentences given above. In the first sentence, by using the word important to qualify the noun decision the speaker implies that the decision is of great significance. That is why the advice is given to think carefully. Then, in the second sentence, Lancelot is known as an important knight of King Arthur. It means Lancelot had a very high rank as a knight as well as he was a person of great value.
Remember that something can be important as well as urgent. However, that does not mean important and urgent both mean the same. Sometimes decisions of great significance should be made immediately. Then, you can say such a decision is important as well as urgent.
What is the difference between Urgent and Important?
• The word urgent is used in the sense of ‘requiring immediate action or attention’.
• On the other hand, the word important is used in the sense ‘of great significance or value’.
• Both urgent and important are used as adjectives.