Can it be “truly unique”?

A blog-azine subscriber, Jerry Dunn, politely and correctly called to my attention a usage error I had posted in my entry that is now titled “Now, this is unique.” Originally, the item was titled “Now, this is truly unique.” (Don’t look for the mistake--I’ve already corrected it.) Jerry wrote ”unique can’t be modified--it’s either unique or it isn’t.” He further explained, “so-called ‘incomparables’ are words that express absolutes and therefore can’t be used with comparatives (such as more) and superlatives (such as most).” Jerry added, “other examples of absolutes are eternal, equal, and fatal.” He’s absolutely right, and I wish I had caught it, except for the fact that my error gave me another teaching point. Jerry is the author of The National Geographic Traveler: San Francisco. I can’t say it’s truly unique...but I bet it’s worth a look.

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Posted Friday, April 04, 2008