Everything Language and Grammar

A Very Unique Error

Posted by languageandgrammar on April 4, 2008

I recently heard a runway announcer (no, not the airport kind—the fashion kind) say that each model had her own very unique style.

Well, unique already means one of a kind, and putting very in front of it doesn’t make it any more one of a kind—but it does make it superfluous, not to mention grammatically incorrect.

There are two possibilities for this very unique problem: Either people are using unique to mean individual or rare, which it does not mean, or they’re trying to add emphasis to their feelings and descriptions by adding words such as very even when those words change what is right to what is wrong.

Unique means (sometimes I can’t find any other way than to just repeat myself) one of a kind—there aren’t any more like it anywhere else—if this one disappears, then it will be extinct—you can search and search all over the world, but you won’t find a second one—after they made this single one, they broke the mold and threw the pieces into 27 different trash cans so that no one would be able to make another one…. Oh, someone stop me.

Nothing is very unique. It’s either one of a kind or it isn’t.

Sherry

Sherry’s Grammar List and Paul’s book–Literally, the Best Language Book Ever

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One Response to “A Very Unique Error”

  1. James said

    I thank you for clearing up another of our outstanding colloquial mistakes of language. Clearly, the “social” definition has deviated from the actual diction of the word.

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