I love language. As a writer, it’s basically a prerequisite. Therefore, it should surprise no one that it bothers me to no end when people use words incorrectly. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people abuse the word unique. 

Abuse of the word unique is rampant on television singing competitions like The Voice. You’ll often hear a judge say something to a singer like, “Your voice is very unique.” 

Here’s the thing: The very definition of the word “unique” is that something is original. Unlike anything else. Here’s what Dictionary.com says:

The word “unique” never needs, nor should ever have, a modifier or an adjective. It’s unnecessary. Something is either unique, or it’s not. There’s no in between. 

If you’re struggling for a word that’s kind of like unique, there’s always thesaurus.com, which lists other options that aren’t quite, well . . . unique. 

Different. Exclusive. Particular. Rare. Uncommon. Incomparable. Take your pick.

Please don’t abuse unique. Abuse of the word unique nulls and voids its very definition, and makes you sound like an idiot. A common idiot, not a unique one.


Stacy Lukasavitz Steele, Principal of Text on Fire Communications™

Stacy Lukasavitz Steele is the multi-disciplined writer behind Text on Fire Communications™. Formerly known online as “that damned redhead,” this seasoned digital strategist and analyst has been setting fire to the interwebs for over 20 years in one capacity or another. She takes the English language much more seriously than she takes herself, but must warn you that the stereotypes about redheads are true. She is passionate about helping brands find their voice and delivering the right messages to the right people. If you’re a cool company looking for some hot copy, you’re in the right place. Drop her a line via the contact form