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. : )