Reading through various climate change reports, I am reminded of a linguistic error that has long annoyed me. Specifically, it is the use of moderating adjectives before the word ‘unique.’ Uniqueness is fundamentally a binary distinction; the Hope Diamond and Mount Everest are unique because they are singular and irreplaceable things. It is logically nonsensical for something to be ‘fairly’ unique, and it is redundant to call something ‘completely’ unique. Likewise, it is impossible to be ‘quite uniquely situated.’
From a slightly broader perspective, it is worth noting how the prevalence of adjectives diminishes both the variety and power of nouns in language. This is particularly true for expressions of degree like ‘very’ and ‘extremely.’ I try to avoid them, though it cannot always be managed.