Precedence vs precedents

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Precedence is a noun which means the condition of being of a higher priority, the fact or right of being considered of higher importance or of superior rank.  Precedence is also the formal or official order of ceremonial ranking of dignitaries in order of their importance. Precedence first appears in the late fifteenth century, derived from precedent which means fact of preceding another, right of preceding another.

Precedents is the plural form of the noun precedent, which describes an earlier event that serves as an example or template to follow when a later, similar event occurs. In the law, a precedent is a previous case or decision that serves as the authority for trying later, similar cases. Precedent appears in the early fifteenth century to mean case which may be taken as a rule in similar cases, it comes from the Latin praecedentum meaning go before.


Moreover, most listed Chinese companies are government-controlled firms, and at times, state interests can take precedence over profitability. (Forbes)

It also faces major problems pushing proposed land and tax reforms through a hostile upper house and those issues will take precedence for the next year, ­Mohapatra says. (The Australian)

Dave Lewis, Tesco chief government, stated: “This sale realises materials worth for shareholders and permits us to make vital progress on our strategic precedence of defending and strengthening our stability sheet.” (The Suffield Times)

Move to suspend Kane’s law license has few precedents (The Sentinel)

It is similar to reversing Supreme Court precedents: it threatens to reduce the credibility of the body’s decisions going forward. (The Washington Post)

The unit’s vice chairman Hong Fu-yuan said that based on precedents set in the past five years, the company’s sales usually rebound after September. (The Taipei Times)


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