'of utmost importance' vs. 'of the utmost importance'

Are the following two sentences correct?
Is there any difference between them:

  1. Your attendance at the meeting is of the utmost importance
  2. Your attendance at the meeting is of utmost importance

Thanks!

They mean the same thing. Use with the article seems far more prevalent. Your sentences would be correct if you had punctuated them with periods.

There is no difference in meaning but the infinitive would normally be used in this context.

It’s not just important… it is of the greatest extent or amount of importance.

Bees, why do you say the infinitive would normally be used here?

Hi Bev,

You’ve lost me here -

Hi Tort,

As always the use of the definite article here simply strengthens the sense of ‘importance’’. I would definitely use ‘the’ but there is no problem with the correctness of either.

Alan

Because although my body has been up and about for a couple of hours, it seems my brain hasn’t yet decided to rise! My only excuse is I was talking to someone about a rather shocking newspaper article (a local hero meeting an untimely death) when I wrote the answer.

Alan - I’m not surprised I lost you. I lost myself too.
I think I’m losing my marbles. That will teach me to try multi-tasking.

What I meant to write was:
There is no difference in meaning but ‘the’ would normally be used in this context.

Thank you all for your valuable comments!

I would say the is required because utmost is a superlative - like greatest, best…
However, sometimes even words like best are used as simple adjectives. Consider come to our shop for best buys. and so on. This is perhaps why if you look at Google, utmost importance is much more common than the utmost importance. Of course, all these people are wrong, but what can you do about it?