Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Unique abuse

Liberal and gutsy radio talk show host Lynn Samuels died on Christmas eve. Lynn worked at several New York City radio stations starting in 1979, and had broadcasted on satellite radio since 2003. I listened to her often, but not always. She could be entertaining and annoying. (So can I.)

In a few hours Sirius XM will begin an on-the-air memorial. That's nice.

Sirius XM has been running promos for the memorial, describing Lynn as "unique and one of a kind." That's not nice. In fact it's redundant and STOOPID.

"Unique" means "one of a kind." There is no need to say both.

"Unique" is one of the most abused (that's worse than merely misused) words in the English language.

It's very common to read and hear the phrase "most unique." It's used in speeches, ads, commercials, websites, books and news reports. It's used by idiots, and by smart people who should know better.

Since "unique" means "one of a kind," all unique things are equally unique. Nothing can be the most unique. Nothing can be more unique than another.

A unique snowflake is just as unique as a unique person or pencil.

It's OK to say "most unusual" or "more unusual," but NEVER modify "unique."

(photo from NY Daily News. Thanks.)


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