Thursday, August 03, 2006

Unique is binary

There are many abuses of the english language in our times. Too many really to list, but tonight I'd just like to talk about one in particular that bothers me to no end, the abuse of the poor word "unique."

If something is unique that means there is exactly one. Not two, not three, not "a few", just one. Uniqueness also does not allow degrees. There is no such thing as "a little bit unique", "somewhat unique", "very unique", nor even "extremely unique". These phrases are like "being a little bit pregnant" or having "large values of 1." It's just nonsensical.

Sadly, this particular transgression against the language is increasingly common. Even professional wordsmiths such as writer and television personalities misuse the term. So I suppose it's unreasonable of me to expect more of anyone else.

But it still pisses me off.

PS, I will grant one exemption, for John at Newsgator. Anyone who's talked to him for more than five minutes knows that he's got his very own language, with very different rules of grammar than what anyone is used to. Therefore the above rant doesn't apply to anyone speaking Johnish. ;)

1 comment:

Nicki0731 said...

Seemingly petty differences in usage can cause such annoyance in this world. Saying itch when the person means scratch causes the most frustration for me. Itch is a noun, not a direct verb. You cannot itch something. You can certainly scratch that itch though...
Doesn't anyone else have other annoying erroneous uses of our language?