OnText Grammar Police talk about how unique a thing can be
Google the phrase “more unique” and you will likely encounter some 74,000,000 incorrect, from my point-of-view, uses of the word unique. Unique is an absolute term. It describes something that has no equal, no peer. Like, “The Earth is unique among the planets we know.”
I always felt completely secure in that point of view. I knew, absolutely, that a description of being unique can’t be compared among nouns. Sort of like pregnant can’t be relative. You are or you ain’t.
Oh yes, I stood my ground, until I checked an online dictionary and found this!
- existing as the only one or as the sole example; single; solitary in type or characteristics: a unique copy of an ancient manuscript. (Ok, works for me.)
- having no like or equal; unparalleled; incomparable: Bach was unique in his handling of counterpoint. (Yep. Good.)
- limited to a single outcome or result; without alternative possibilities: Certain types of problems have unique solutions. (I’m nodding righteously. Damned straight.)
- not typical; unusual: She has a very unique smile. (Say whuuuut?!?!?!)
Even J.D. Salinger and Merriam Webster stand against me – “We were fairly unique, the sixty of us, in that there wasn’t one good mixer in the bunch “— J. D. Salinger.
I concede, though I will forever maintain one can’t be slightly pregnant. Never again will I whine about those dolts who don’t realize you can’t be a little unique. You can. And I am.