21 Jun #WordtotheWise: Is ‘Unique’ Unique?
A pessimistic editor once told me to never to use the word “unique,” because advertising has diluted its meaning. I don’t fully agree with her, and I like to think it is because I take a more optimistic approach—some things really are one-of-a kind. Who knew this word could pose a grammatical controversy, since talking about “degrees of uniqueness” has been a trend for a while. Here is one area where pessimists and optimists can agree. By modifying absolutes with qualifiers, such saying something is very, completely, or the most unique, it must then be conceded that unique looses the quality of being absolute.