"All things are wearisome, more than one can say." - Ecclesiastes 1:8

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pedant queries

I was brought up to think you should kill yourself - or at least indulge in a prolonged period of self-flagellation if you described something as being nearly or almost unique. Because the state of uniqueness is absolute; something is either unique or it isn't.

But you could say the same about perfection - yet no-one gets worked up about it if someone uses the expression, "near perfection", or something similar.

Can anyone shed any light on this sematic puzzle - or are grammar pedants merely insane?
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