uppermost of concern


Senior Member
"Well, when this all started, the issues that were uppermost of concern were protection of intellectual property, the forced transfer by China of American knowhow, greater access to Chinese markets. These are tough structural issues. "

I found from a dictionary that the word "uppermost" is an adjective, but it seems this person's using it as an adverb. Is that acceptable? I think he should've taken out "of" if he intended "uppermost" to be an adjective.

What do you think?

source: President Trump Ends Another Round Of Trade Negotiations With China

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    It is the uppermost issues that were of concern.
    The word order changed your perception, but it is an adjective.


    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    the issues that were uppermost of concern
    This is a noun phrase -- all of it. It is the subject of the verb "were".

    "Uppermost" does not modify "concern". The phrase "uppermost of concern" sounds odd to me. But I guess "uppermost of concern" means "highest in our list of things we are concerned about".


    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s direct speech, reported verbatim, which is rarely perfect. The meaning is no doubt “the issues that were uppermost [in terms of] concern”.

    In effect, it reads like a mixture of “uppermost in people’s minds” and “of the greatest concern”.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think the two words are out of order. They need to be switched.

    Well, when this all started, the issues that were of uppermost concern were...
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