I came across this sentence in a text-book written by non-native speakers:

"He attaches great importance to his friends."

I thought it did not sound very natural.

Longman dictionary says "attach importance/significance etc to something: to believe that something is important"

Can we really say "attach importance to somebody" as in the above-mentioned sentence? Thanks for reading.

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    It likely means to his friendships or to having friends, but the meaning is clear, and it doesn't sound unusual to me. (Aside from that minor tweak in the wording.) Even if it were talking about somebody specific, it would still make sense. I attach great importance to my sister. Of course, in talking about a singular person, the meaning is somewhat ambiguous. She could be important to me, or she could be somebody important in general (somebody famous or influential.) But, aside from that ambiguity, there's still no problem with the fact that I'm talking about a person. Commented Jun 30, 2020 at 22:07

1 Answer 1


It’s an easy way of speaking about something that is psychological/conceptual.

If you believe someone is important, you have, in your own mind, “attached” the quality of “importance” to your image/conceptualisation of them.

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