Daily Archives: August 1, 2013

A Totally Unique Word

Sexagenarians across Britain are foaming at the mouth right now, preparing long and short explosions about that title. (Alright, most of them don’t read this blog, but you take my point.)  So to save you from their wrath, let’s just get one thing straight:

Unique is an absolute word. It cannot be qualified. Something is either unique or it’s not. It can’t be “a bit unique” or “totally unique” or “somewhat unique”.

Purists would prefer you not to use any adjectives with unique at all, but personally I think that’s a bit extreme. Something can clearly be “Wonderfully unique” as well as “uniquely wonderful”, and I would even be inclined to forgive “almost unique” at a push.

But “totally unique” and “pretty unique”? No. Steer clear and the baby boomers will sleep easy tonight.


Filed under Grammar Rules Simplified, Writing