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Consider the statement:

The drought we have suffered this year makes it all the more imperative to wisely use the stock of food we have.

Is this a correct usage of the word imperative? What may be the errors in the above statement? How should I correct them (it is preferred that the word imperative is retained)?

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I am not sure if the statement referred above is wrong. It just doesn't roll off the tongue nicely. –  Shashank Sawant Oct 13 '12 at 6:06
    
The word imperative is used in the correct sense in your example sentence. Other things may need review. Why do you think the use of imperative may not be correct here? Help us understand your question better. –  Kris Oct 13 '12 at 6:13
    
You think this doesn't what? You haven't seen this: english.stackexchange.com/questions/55873/… –  Kris Oct 13 '12 at 6:22
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I think you're thrown off by "all the more", which is a colloquialism. Remove that and the sentence sounds fine. –  New Alexandria Oct 13 '12 at 21:36
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"All the more" is not a colloquialism: here and here are examples from academic works –  StoneyB Oct 15 '12 at 20:11

4 Answers 4

up vote 0 down vote accepted

The colloquialism "all the more" makes the usage of 'imperative' harder to see/hear.

Remove that and the sentence sounds fine.

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"All the more" is completely acceptable in this sentence. Read it as "All the more important" or "Even more important"... –  Hmobius Oct 16 '12 at 12:16
    
@Hmobius is a colloquialism that is completely acceptable for casual speech. The OP asked about correct usage, and the color of their example sounds like a statement in a report or made in a presentation. These formal situations would rarely be an 'appropriate' context for a colloquialism – but you knew that, since you presented the non-colloquial form: "even more important" –  New Alexandria Oct 16 '12 at 14:46

Imperative has, as its primary sense according to Collins (and I think that this is the sense we must accept here):

  1. extremely urgent or important; essential

Essential (/ crucial / of vital importance / imperative [in this sense] ) are absolute (in the semantic sense) adjectives (or, in the case of the phrase, adjectivals), and hence are non-gradable.

Correct alternatives are:

The drought we have suffered this year makes it all the more / even more important to wisely use the stock of food we have.

The drought we have suffered this year makes it imperative to wisely use the stock of food we have.

If emphasis is deemed necessary (people being selectively deaf to instructions they don't like),

The drought we have suffered this year makes it IMPERATIVE to wisely use the stock of food we have.

And if my family is threatened by others' greed or complacency, I might even endorse the ungrammatical

The drought we have suffered this year makes it ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE to wisely use the stock of food we have.

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One of the definitions of imperative is of vital importance, or crucial. If a drought can make it more crucial, it can make it more imperative.

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Diction wise, imperative takes more the sense of a command or dictate, and your way of using it makes it more the equivalent of saying, "makes it necessary," which is not the intended connotation.

To avoid such an inference while, at the same time, adhering closely to its most succinct definition (and intonation), try rephrasing with imperative expressed as a noun. For example, and mostly using your words:

Given [with, because of, in light of, ...] the suffering brought already this year by drought, wise [judicious, careful, equitable, humane, selective, ...] use of food reserves has become all the more an imperative.

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