THERE AIN'T NO SUCH FUCKING THING AS A "MOST UNIQUE" WHATEVER! IT'S EITHER UNIQUE, OR IT'S NOT!

Ah, I feel better now. Btw, have you seen my medications lying around?

Posted by: Stephen St. Onge at October 10, 2002 07:28 AM

Stephen -- Wow, I never thought of that before, thanks. Will use "more" from now on. Must drive you crazy, having noticed that tic 17 years ago, and seeing it misused again and again and again....

My similar affliction is with the difference between "percent" and "percentage point." Makes me leap up and down like a kangaroo.

Posted by: Matt Welch at October 10, 2002 11:52 AM


No, not that Ken.

Matt, "unique" is an absolute. Just as there can be no "most unique", there can be no "more unique". There is "unique", and there is "not unique".

How could A be more "one-of-a-kind" than B?

Ken

Posted by: Ken at October 10, 2002 12:01 PM

Ken -- Eh, well, I like the language to be flexible enough to allow "more unique," while canceling out "most unique." Unique isn't bound to mean "only," in my weird book, because you could be talking about several "unique" types within a broad general sense. For instance, I think there is more than one "unique" blogger in the world. There is more than one one-of-a-kind personality.

Posted by: Matt Welch at October 10, 2002 01:44 PM

No one will see this comment four days later, but, Matt, "unique" is an on-off switch. Either something is unique, or it isn't. There are not degrees of uniqueness. The word you're looking for is "unusual," or "peculiar," or "idiosyncratic," though people have been making the same mistake for a century, so it's perhaps time to bury this objection with the one for "flammable" and for failure to use "whom."

Posted by: Max Power at October 14, 2002 06:35 PM
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