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What is the difference between Urgent and Immediate?

  1. This letter needs an urgent reply.
  2. This letter needs an immediate reply.

When should I use Urgent and When I use Immediate?

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Immediate means this very moment although it is taken to mean as soon as possible. To say that a message needs an immediate reply is to ask the recipient to respond as soon as it is received - or, at least, as soon as practicable.

A letter requiring an immediate reply should be by the next post. However, the subject matter may be trivial. Did you want two pairs of socks or three?

Urgent signifies that there is much as stake and that the speed of the response is material. An urgent reply should be made as soon as it is possible in the light of the circumstances, even if it may take several days or weeks.

Regrettably, in the internet age, much of the spam that we receive is labelled urgent and the word has simply become an attention-getter. It's good advice to use it with caution.

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  • Yep. When everything is "high priority", then nothing is.
    – Andrew
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 15:56

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