Today we’re talking about my number one pet peeve–unique. “Unique” means one-of-a-kind—as in unit, united, unity, etc. Romance language speakers will understand, too, because of its close relationship to the word for “one” in French, Spanish and Italian.

So if something is one-of-a-kind, it can’t be qualified with an adjective. Nothing can be “very unique,” because nothing can be very one-of-a-kind. It’s either one-of-a-kind or it isn’t. Nor can it be “pretty unique” or “sort-of unique.”

If it’s genuinely one-of-a-kind, use the word unique. If it’s not, don’t. Find another adjective, a more accurate one. And don’t say “very unique” anymore. You will hear it, and often, and may it slowly begin to bother you more and more. : )

Could/Couldn’t Care Less

This takes just one good kick in the brain to get this forever. Sometimes we erroneously say, “I could care less” when we really mean, “I couldn’t care less.”

If I couldn’t care less, it means that I care as little as it is possible to care. In other words, we really don’t care at all.

If we say, “I could care less,” it means that we could possibly care less. That means we care a little about a situation all the way up to caring a lot about it. That’s not what we usually mean.

So, really, we almost never mean, “we could care less.” So let’s make sure we say, “I couldn’t care less” instead.

Some of you couldn’t care less about this, but I could care less!

He/She and Him/Her

There’s too much misuse of these words to develop the full grisly picture in one little entry, and we’ll inevitably have to revisit the sorry subject. So we’ll just take one that makes the author physically cringe every time.

Never, ever, ever, ever say “Him and I did such-and-such” or “Her and I are going to the mall” or whatever. These are such grievous grammatical sins that one should hang one’s head in shame.

Say “He and I did such-and-such” or “She and I are going to the mall.”

The simple thought here is that if someone is doing the action, we say “he” or “she” is doing it. If something is being done to or for someone, we say “him” or her.”


She and I are friends.

He and I are in the same class.

She and Fred went to the movies.

He and Emma are the worst couple ever.



Her and I are friends.

Him and I are cousins.

Her and Fred hated the movie.

Her broke up with Emma, thank goodness.


Just keep saying “He and I” and “She and I” over and over until you can’t say anything other than that when beginning a sentence.