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I have a book that is divided in 5 main topics. What would be a good synonym for "main topic", in a formal document?

"Main theme" or "Main subject" would be better?

Also, if I wanted to replace "main", what should I use? I want to stress how "vital" these topics are.

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Subject, theme, issue are all fine synonyms of topic for the usage you want.

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  • What else do you do with your day, FX_? – mplungjan Feb 23 '11 at 9:48
  • The pillars of great communities are great users like @FX_. :) – John Assymptoth Feb 23 '11 at 10:05
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Also, if I wanted to replace "main", what should I use? I want to stress how "vital" these topics are.

Well, perhaps you could call them vital topics

Other possibilities include core, fundamental, important, essential, major. These are not exact synonyms so suitability depends on context.

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