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A word to the wise: Verily I say unto you

Gene Weingarten on

"Very unique." That is because something that is unique is, by definition, one-of-a-kind, meaning that all "unique" things are equally unique and there is no room for comparison. Yes, our president uses this formulation all the time, most recently before an international audience at the United Nations, when he asserted that patriotism is a wonderful thing because many countries (Abu Dhabi, for example) are "very unique."

Trump also habitually applies "very" to words you don't think need a modifier, because they are kinda sorta over-the-top already. That is no impediment to him, because, to him, anything can be Trumpified into something even more splendiferously stupendous than it is. Donald Trump declares things "very fantastic" and "very incredible" and "very amazing."

I've been meaning to write this column for two years now, as I've watched the Trumpian verys multiply and exponentiate, but the other day he forced my hand. The man has started dragging the verys into bizarrely hostile syntactical territory.

He was speaking to a conference of sheriffs and police chiefs about the inevitability of his beloved wall.

He assured them that the wall was "very, very ... " And then he paused. He didn't seem to know where he was going with this. No word occurred to him, evidently, other than "very." He was scouring his brain for adjectives meaning ... what? Imminent? Inevitable? Gigantacular? Then ... aha! You can see the joy etched in his face. The wall, he decided, is "very, very on its way."

 

I am extremely, humongously, bigly nauseated.

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Gene Weingarten can be reached at weingarten@washpost.com. Follow him on Twitter, @geneweingarten. Chat with him online Tuesdays at noon Eastern at www.washingtonpost.com.

(c) 2019, The Washington Post Writers Group

 

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