Suppose you’re writing a report, and you’re suggesting some steps to take going forward. You have a long list of things people need to do, but one stands out. So you save it for the end of the list. Can you say “Most importantly” before that last list item?
It is correct to say “most importantly” before explaining the most important item or aspect in a long list. Usually, we use “most importantly” at the end of such a list, and we use it to highlight its significance. “Most importantly,” we use this phrase as a transition, which can help make our communication clearer overall.
Here, we’ll explore the meaning and usage of the transition phrase “most importantly.” Then, we’ll check out several examples to make it nice and clear!
What Does “Most Importantly” Mean?
“Most importantly” means that the point you are about to mention is the most significant of all the other things you have already mentioned (source). Or, more formally, we can define “most importantly” as “above and beyond all other considerations” (source).
Transition words signal to your reader or listener that you are connecting a new idea to the current or previous idea (source). They are a key part of writing clearly, and they can help make your logic flow more smoothly as you write and/or speak.
When you use the transition “most importantly,” you show a superlative relationship between what you will mention next and what you already mentioned. Essentially, you’re telling your audience, “What I’ve said so far is important, sure – but this next point is the most important of them all!”
Other transition words and phrases can signal time order, physical location, or the purpose of the coming sentence. Transitions are a key element in clear, concise writing; learning how and when to use them properly is essential, especially in academic and professional contexts.
How Do You Use “Most Importantly”?
Usually, we use “most importantly” as a transition at the beginning of the sentence. It signals to our audience that we will say something very significant. The sentence that comes right after “most importantly” is the most important point in the conversation or correspondence.
In many cases, you might see a list of many different scenarios or facts before you see the transition “most importantly.” For example, an author might describe the people in the room at a party. Then, she goes through the physical attributes and personalities of each person present.
And she saves the best for last! When the author chooses to introduce the most important character at the party last, she can use the transition “most importantly” to start the description. Or, if the author wants to highlight a specific character trait of this person, she can use “most importantly” towards the end of her description to make that aspect pop.
When Can You Use “Most Importantly”?
You can use “most importantly” when you’re making a list of things, people, ideas, or actions. In most cases, the transitional phrase “most importantly” will come alongside the final item on the list, and this item will be the most crucial or noteworthy of all those on the list.
Often, you might see contrast signal words such as “but,” “however,” “though,” and “although” in the same sentence with “most importantly.” This is because we can use “most importantly” to show that something is actually significant, even if your reader or listener didn’t see its significance from the outset.
For instance, we can say, “The team practiced hard to win the tournament. Most importantly, however, they built long-lasting friendships and strong bonds.” The reader probably thinks that winning the tournament is the most crucial part of the story.
But when the author uses “most importantly” and “however” together, the reader understands that, despite their initial assumption, friendship and strong bonds are the most critical aspect, according to the author.
Using “Most Importantly” in a Full Sentence
“Most importantly” acts as a transition. This means that it comes at the beginning of the sentence or dependent clause, and we use a comma directly after it. For example, “We need to buy milk, eggs, cheese, and most importantly, sourdough bread.”
Let’s explore the usage a bit more deeply with some examples:
- He was tall and handsome. Most importantly, though, he was kind and empathetic.
In this example, we listed four personal attributes: tall, handsome, kind, and empathetic. However, because the speaker used the transition “most importantly,” we can easily understand that he or she values his kindness and empathy more than his good looks.
In fact, his kind and empathetic personality is the most significant point for the speaker; we can understand this from their use of the transition “most importantly.”
We still need to bake the cake and buy a birthday gift. But most importantly, we need to invite our friends to the birthday party.
In this instance, we see a list of things the author needs to do: bake a cake, buy a gift, and invite friends. However, one of these tasks is more pressing and should take priority; which task is it? Inviting friends, of course!
We understand that the author wants to finish this task first because it comes directly after the transition “most importantly.” Thanks to this transitional phrase, we can easily understand that it is at the very top of their to-do list.
When Not to Use “Most Importantly”
You shouldn’t use “most importantly” if what you are about to describe isn’t very important. So, for example, if you’re not about to explain your message’s key point or feature, it isn’t very wise or practical to lead with “most importantly.”
Stylistically, it’s also very uncommon to start a list or explanation with “most importantly.” Instead, when writing or presenting in English – especially in academic and professional settings – it’s popular to save the best for last, so to speak.
So, keep the sentence starting with “most importantly” for the end of your paper or talk, and capture your audience’s attention with a strong and well-placed transition!
What Can You Use Instead of “Most Importantly”?
Many popular transition words and phrases have the same meaning as “most importantly.” Some of the most common ones include “above all” and “most of all.”
Here are some other transition words and phrases that you can use instead of “most importantly”:
You’ll notice that these synonyms are all adverbs, just like “importantly.” However, these adverbs already imply the sense of “most,” so you shouldn’t add it.
Check out these synonyms that have the same meaning and usage as “importantly”:
For this second set of synonyms, you can use both the comparative and superlative forms of these adverbs to build solid and clear transitions that show your reader you are about to mention the most significant point.
Comparative and Superlative Adverbs
Comparative and superlative adverbs allow us to compare and contrast how or in what manner two or more actions or attributes happen (source). We can also use comparative and superlative adverbs to compare how or to what degree two or more adjectives compare.
To build the comparative adverb, we add “more” right before the adverb. You may feel tempted to try and develop a new adverb form by adding something like “-er” to the end, but this is incorrect!
For example, if you want to compare how quickly two people run, you wouldn’t use the word “quicklier.” In fact, no such word exists in English! So instead, you should say, “Mark works more quickly than Sally does.”
In the same way, we use “most” to build the superlative adverb. We do not add a suffix like “-est” to the end of the adverb. Instead, we put “most” right in front of the adverb. So, we can say, “Sally works the most slowly of all the employees.” But we can not say, “Sally works the slowliest,” because “slowliest” isn’t even a word!
Building comparative and superlative adverbs is easy: simply add “more” for the comparative and “most” for the superlative! Make sure to add them right before the adverb you are modifying.
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
For more information about using comparative and superlative adverbs, check out our article Is It Correct to Say “More Easily”?
“Most importantly” is a transition phrase that signals to your audience that what you are about to say or explain is the most crucial part of your message. You can use this transitional phrase at the beginning of a sentence and add a comma directly after it.
Usually, “most importantly” comes towards the end of your message, whether your message is written or spoken. It should come with the final and most significant aspect or list item you are explaining. You shouldn’t use it towards the beginning or middle of the list; when you save it for the end, it has a more effective impact on your writing.
Most importantly, this transition phrase is a clear and concise signal for your readers and/or listeners. It’s a great way to keep your writing focused and relevant!