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critical vs.crucial (4 posts)

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User avatar
majidkh
Posted on 24 Jul 2009 18:05
Total posts: 4
Hello
Could you please tell me if it is OK to replace crucial with critical or vice-versa in the
following sentences?

1-The incident happened at a critical point in the campaign...
2-A critical situation is very serious and dangerous.
3-The German authorities are considering an airlift if the situation becomes critical...
4-Its day-to-day finances are in a critical state.
5-He took the crucial step of asking her to marry him
6-The next game is crucial – if we lose it we lose the match.
7-the crucial factor in their relationship was their unshakable faith in each other.

Thanks a lot.

User avatar
keith
Posted on 26 Jul 2009 18:59
Total posts: 59
Critical and crucial both have several meanings, but they can be synonyms - have a look at these definitions from dictionary.com:

crucial
- involving an extremely important decision or result; decisive; critical: a crucial experiment.

critical
- of decisive importance with respect to the outcome; crucial: a critical moment.


So you need to decide in which of your sentences they have the above meaning. With this in mind, my view would be:

1-The incident happened at a critical point in the campaign...
Yes

2-A critical situation is very serious and dangerous.
No

3-The German authorities are considering an airlift if the situation becomes critical...
No

4-Its day-to-day finances are in a critical state.
No

5-He took the crucial step of asking her to marry him
Probably

6-The next game is crucial – if we lose it we lose the match.
Yes

7-the crucial factor in their relationship was their unshakable faith in each other.
Probably

For the ones where I've said no, have a look at the definitions in a dictionary and you'll find that crucial or critical in these cases more closely matches another definition... Anyone agree or disagree?

Keith

User avatar
ExecutiveEnglish
Posted on 28 Oct 2009 17:05
Total posts: 1
For all intents and purposes, they are interchangeable.

However, I think there is a subtle difference in meaning.

To me, 'crucial' emphasises the pivotal nature of what is being described -- in other words, it refers to a potential turning-point in the situation.

'Critical' embodies this meaning, but also suggests a particular urgency -- it describes a development that will lead either to success or to failure.

User avatar
Pruthiraj
Posted on 29 Jul 2010 8:04
Total posts: 9
The exactly difference between these two:
In past conversations, I’ve argued that if the two words were compared to each other on a level degree, then crucial would mean important, and critical would mean more important. That is, it’s crucial that I find a Band-Aid for the cut on my finger, but it’s critical that you call an ambulance because my skull is cracked open.


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