critical vs.crucial

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  • majidkh
    Participant
    24 July, 2009 at 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.

    Participant
    26 July, 2009 at 18:59
    • Total posts: 58

    Reply To: critical vs.crucial

    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

    ExecutiveEnglish
    Participant
    28 October, 2009 at 17:05
    • Total posts: 1

    Reply To: critical vs.crucial

    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.

    Pruthiraj
    Participant
    29 July, 2010 at 8:04
    • Total posts: 9

    Reply To: critical vs.crucial

    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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