I was absent that day. . . the dog ate my homework, and other excuses

“Chimney Bluffs, 2002. Chimney Bluffs are one of the most unique
landmarks of Wayne County’s lakeshore”. . . but that can’t be. 

The bluffs  are beautiful, and a testament to time. . . but someone needs to go back to sixth-grade English class — or just stay in Wayne County where the only one who will notice this kind of thing is me.

“one of the most unique…” is a contradiction of terms and a physical impossibility.

“Unique” is an absolute term.  If something is “unique,” there is nothing else like it.  It can’t be “more unique” or “less unique;” it just is.   It’s like being pregnant — you can’t be “more pregnant,” “less pregnant,” or even “a little bit pregnant.”  You either are or you aren’t.

Nor can it be qualified, either.  To do that you would have to compare it to something similar.   But there is nothing similar.  It’s unique, remember?  It’s one of a kind.  So, the bluffs may be one of the most breathtaking, imposing, awesome, inspiring, amazing, astounding, or astonishing of the landmarks.  They can even be a unique feature of the landmarks.  But if you insist they are “one of the most unique” landmarks, that just shows you’re from Wayne County.  And in that case you probably wouldn’t correct the verb form, either.

(Many thanks to http://www.co.wayne.ny.us/Departments/historian/pages/Hur1_jpg.htm for yet another reason why I chose a 585 area code for my phone. . . )


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