I read one article about food safety. It tries to state that food safety is the most important to the government. The writer put "Food safety is of utmost importance". But I think "Food safety is paramount." is ok too and would be better. Which one would make the sense to a native speaker?

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    Native Speaker (US). Both sentences carry similar meaning as well as register. When I hear the word "Paramount" my mind goes to the film studio. I wonder if anybody else feels that way. I don't have any other word connections with the phrase "utmost importance". – Leo Jul 7 '16 at 2:27
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    I would write this as "Food safety is of the utmost importance." (AmE) – user3169 Jul 7 '16 at 3:56

Let us look at a definition of paramount.

1. Of chief concern or importance

So both examples make sense.

I would not say one is better than the other. Both constructions seem like common ways that people, especially companies/managers/authorities/etc, use to express that something is highly/most important.

So it really comes down to a matter of style. In my opinion, "Food safety is of utmost importance" really sounds like a cliche, scripted line from a manager or CEO, especially after a scandal regarding their food handling procedures. "Food safety is paramount" (by itself) sounds less scripted to me.


As others have noted, the two sentences have practically identical meaning.

"Paramount" is, I think, a less-commonly used word, so maybe fewer people would understand what it means.

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