Spanish word of the week: importante

importante ADJECTIVE important, significant; large

Importante is one of those intriguing Spanish words that has one meaning which looks similar to English — important — and another that is a bit unexpected: large:

Tu padre es un hombre muy importante en la política. Your father is a very important man in politics.

El turismo es una parte importante de su economía. Tourism is a large part of their economy.

In its main meaning, you can choose to translate by other English synonyms, such as significant or major, according to context:

una de las obras más importantes del catálogo de Bach one of the most significant works in Bach’s output

If we want to emphasize a particular point, or prioritize it, then the phrase lo más importante can help us:

Ganar este partido es lo más importante ahora. Winning this match is the main thing right now.

Creo que es lo más importante que se puede deducir de estas elecciones. I think that’s the main thing we can conclude from these elections.

Lo más importante can also be followed by a clause introduced by que, with the verb in the indicative or the subjunctive, according to context. If you are talking about a fact that has already happened, use the indicative:

Lo más importante es que hemos conseguido los dos puntos. The main thing is that we got the two points.

In the example above we know for a fact that the two goals have been scored. However, if the manager were encouraging his team before the match, he would say:

Lo más importante es que consigamos los dos puntos. The main thing is that we get the two points.

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