Suppose you are fighting with your competitor company in order to win a tender and aside form achieving lots of money, it has very high importance for you because of some personal / old problems between you as the directing manager of company A and that guy as the director of the company B. The team is evaluating your companies' points to define the winner. Someone notices your efforts and your worry; he / she comes to you and asks why are you so stressful. (You feel your reputation / prestige is endangered) You answer:

  • This is a prestigious matter, and it is of paramount importance that I succeed.

Does the above sentence sound idiomatic and natural to you as a native speaker in this sense? Isn't it too formal?

closed as off-topic by ColleenV, Glorfindel, JavaLatte, Peter, Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩 Jul 31 '16 at 19:43

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  • 2
    It sounds a bit pompous. – JavaLatte Jul 31 '16 at 14:07
  • The context is unclear. Is this a conversation? A correspondence? A scene from a novel or short story? Dialogue from a play? – P. E. Dant Jul 31 '16 at 19:42
  • @P.E.Dant this is a self-made story that I wrote to convey the mater in my question and make it clearer to you. – A-friend Aug 1 '16 at 7:10

Yes, to be honest, it does sound a bit too formal to me. It really depends on your office culture and the manner in which you normally speak to one another, however there is a chance you might (unintentionally) come across as stuffy or self-important, using a word like "prestige" as a self-descriptor.

The second clause, "it is of paramount importance that I succeed" is fine - perfectly accurate and grammatically correct as-is. Of course, a more natural and less formal conversational expression of this might sound something like:

"It's just extremely important to me to come out on top here."

You could even say,

"I can't emphasize enough how important this is to me."

I think the latter is likely to elicit more sympathy than contempt.

The first clause, "this is a prestigious matter," is what doesn't sound right to me. Firstly, it seems to imply that the matter itself is prestigious, when I think you mean to say that the matter is one concerning prestige - specifically your prestige, and not the matter's prestige.

You could reword this:

  • This is a matter of prestige.
  • This matter threatens my prestige.

But it would sound much more natural to me to say:

  • My reputation is on the line.

  • My reputation is at stake.

  • I feel like my character is being called into question.

  • I am worried my image could suffer. I don't want to lose the respect of my employees or confidence of my clients.

  • I'm concerned about how this will affect my professional image.

  • Losing could ruin my good name.

I can understand why a manager or anyone in a position of power might want to avoid revealing too much of what can be perceived as weakness by some. But when in doubt, honesty is sometimes the best policy for effective communication. If speaking to a trusted colleague or perhaps family, put all together, I might say something like:

"This issue has been weighing on my mind heavily because I feel like my reputation is on the line and my very character is being called into question. Winning this means so much to me, I can't even begin to tell you. It's just critically important that I succeed. That's why I've been working so hard."


It doesn't quite work.

This is a prestigious matter

the word prestigious is most usually applied to things like houses or cars. I would not usually use it with matter you might say

This is a matter of prestige

or, and this would be my preferred statement:

My personal reputation is at stake here.


it is of paramount importance that I succeed

paramount importance says that something is more important than anything else to a person or organisation. We should say to whom it is important and justify it.

It is of paramount importance that we adhere to the banking regulations otherwise our company will be prohibited from trading.

You need to be clear, is this a concern for your self or for your company.

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