- On July 15, 2014
Unique. It’s like being pregnant. You are or you’re not.
Unique means one of a kind, so a situation, challenge, service, etc., cannot be completely unique, very unique, or some other kind of unique. It’s either the only one or it’s something else.
In today’s world, it’s rare for anything to be unique. And not only are the modifiers for it wrong, but the word gets tossed around so freely that our claims—it’s a unique opportunity, the product has a unique ability—are often dismissed as marketing hype by the very people we’re trying to entice.
Kind of like the boy who cried wolf. If you beat the drum too hard and too often, nobody is going to believe you.
Instead of unique, which is often a stand-in for the equally tired special, try one of these more precise and powerful adjectives: singular, distinct, formidable, rare, and uncommon. Or ditch the descriptors altogether and let the situation speak for itself.