October 11

Essential v. Quintessential: Does Anyone Know the Difference?

When you hear sports jock radio and TV hosts using the word quintessential, you have to wonder if the world really understands what’s essential and what’s quintessential?

In short, essential means "indispensable," while quintessential means "the most typical."

I think most people just opt for quintessential because it sounds so fancy-schmancy without stopping to think about what they really mean.

I have no ready examples, but the next time you hear someone use quintessential, ask yourself if that person means "indispensable" or "most typical."

 



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Posted October 11, 2007 by Gary McCarty in category "Grammar Sucks

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