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One of a kind-ness

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WASHINGTON — Meet Simile and Sui Generis.

Simile, to refresh memories, is a favorite rhetorical device of writers that compares two essentially unlike things that nonetheless have similar characteristics: The quarterback was like a locomotive.

Sui generis, the Latin phrase meaning unique or one of a kind, is a helpful restraint upon the former. Some things, even if they share certain characteristics, shouldn’t be compared. Sui generis is the braking system on a rhetorical locomotive, or at least it should…

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