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Is it correct to describe something as “most unique”? It seems to me that “most” is redunant though it does add emphasis akin to expressions such as “very pregnant” and “very dead”.
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It is not correct to use terms such as "most unique" or "very unique". Unique MEANS one-of-a-kind, not merely rare or unusual. People who misuse this term are also fond of employing 'impact' as a verb.
OK, James, how about this? "I did an experiment exposing ten fruit flies to high levels of radiation. The offspring of one was unique in that its eyes were an unusual shade of pink. The offspring of another was most unique in that it grew to a weight of 300 pounds and ate two of my lab assistants."You may or may not find it grammatical, but I think it illustrates Chris's point.
Also, see dictionary.com:
The usage note at the bottom discusses this issue quite well.
As unique describes some thing that is one of a kind, there can be no degrees of unique. Therefore adjectives that try to establish different levels are not proper, grammatically.
Consider two unique things; item A and item B. Item A is much farther from the norm than item B. In my opinion, you could then say that A is more unique than B.
It is indeed correct to use 'most unique'. A quick look in any good dictionary will show you that 'unique' has more than one meaning, as Steve has accurately discerned.
The misuse comes from people like Frederick who repeat these sorry fables.
Item A is much farther from the norm than item B? Can you give me an example? I don't understand what that means.
Having just had an argument about this here is a slightly different slant. Suppose one box has nine identical red icecreams and one blue one and another box has nine identical blue icecreams and one red one. We could say the first box is more red than the second box, meaning it has more red elements, not that the individual elements are more red. So a team might have more individuals who are unique than another team and for convenience we could say it is 'more unique' rather than laboriously stating that it has more members who are unique. I don't see a problem with this although my friend disagrees strongly.
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