A Few Derivative Thoughts About the Word "Unique"

Comments

1

Salinger wrote that? What a phony.

Anyway, for that matter it, does it make sense for the modified noun to be plural? A lamp can be unique but how can lamps be unique?

Thanks for the bestest article of the day.

2

You need friends, man.

3

@2 I have more than I can handle, but thanks for your concern.

4

You're wasting your time. Try taking on "literally" instead.

5

Agreed!!!

6

@3 -- are they pretty unique?
(Is 'not very unique' the opposite?)

Is it possible to stem the evolutionary tide of 'English'?

7

I want to hear someone spit derision at "only", as in "one of the only restaurants in the area that . . ." Only is also not subject to levels of comparison. Either it's the only one or it's not. If there are others, it's one of the few, one of a few, one of several, etc. Tackle that one while you're working over "literally" in the woodshed.

8

In that Salinger quote, 'unique' modifies "the sixty of us," which is a single entity, and that entity differs from other entities like it in the manner specified in the rest of the sentence.

The argument against the use of "fairly," to modify "unique" in Salinger's sentence is rooted in ignorance. The word "fairly" has many possibly meanings beyond modifying the degree of an adjective-- it can also mean: "beautifully," "neatly," "clearly," "definitely," "actually," "plainly," "distinctly," "fully," "absolutely," "positively," etc (source: Webster's 3rd unabridged, which supplies many usage samples as well). For most of the word's history, these meanings were all more common than the primary present-day meaning of "mostly," "partially," or "appreciably". Granted, you have to read a fair number of older books to be familiar with this, but reading older books is something that writers -- and readers -- did quite a lot of 70 years ago.

The use of Salinger's sentence to support the idea that "unique" can have varying degrees is equally ignorant-- I doubt that's what the sentence would have conveyed to a typical reader at the time.

9

@3 that you felt compelled to reply belies that statement.

I am not concerned. I’m selfish.

See, I just figure that if you had real friends a real friend would tell you not to write stupid trivial shit like this article. And it would spare the rest of us.

10

@9: isn't that an editor's job? or an editor who's also a friend's job?

I don't think slog is edited.

11

@9 Not only do you think you know all about my personal life, you believe the English language is a trivial subject. You're amazing.

12

This grumpy article reminds me of your other grumpy article about tall people at concerts.

13

@12 I don't think that was me. I did write about talky people at concerts, though.

14

@13 -- a grumpy talky article?