Like “milk,” “rice,” and “education,” uncountable nouns are words for stuff that can’t be broken into exact units. You talk about “some milk,” “the rice,” and “a lot of education,” but you don’t say “a milk,” “three rices,” or “many educations.”
Likewise, talk about “the ultimacy,” “such ultimacy,” “no ultimacy,” and so on, but you usually don’t say “ultimacies.”
(Exception: say "ultimacies" when you are using the second of the two definitions below.)
First, and most commonly, ultimacy is the state of being the best, being the highest, or being the most basic and important. (It's the noun form of the familiar adjective "ultimate.") This is the meaning we'll focus on for this issue.
Second, an ultimacy is any basic and important quality of something.
How to use it:
Talk about the ultimacy of something, meaning the fact that it's the best, it's the highest, or it's the most basic and important. This is the most common way to use the word. Examples: "the ultimacy of good over evil," "the ultimacy of the Olympic games," and "the ultimacy of publishing in the quest for tenure."
You can also simply talk about "the ultimacy," "this ultimacy," "that ultimacy," "their ultimacy," and so on.
If you're a teenager in love, you're perfectly convinced of the ultimacy of your relationship.
Critics of the first Harry Potter book are annoyed by the constant language of ultimacy: "It was the biggest thing Harry had ever seen." "It was the most amazing thing Harry had heard." "It was the most delicious thing Harry had ever tasted."
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "ultimacy” means when you can explain it without saying “extremity” or “fundamental."
Think of something you used to believe was really important or really amazing, and fill in the blanks: "When I was _____, I started to doubt the ultimacy of _____."
Example: "When I was fourteen, I started to doubt the ultimacy of the various commands and pieces of advice found in beauty magazines."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
Messages that go through an automated translator into several languages and back into English again often end up sounding funny and garbled-- but still somehow meaningful. We’re having fun with that phenomenon this month as we play our game: Guess the moral from Aesop’s Fables after it has been translated into a few foreign languages and back again by a computer program. Some of the morals may be very familiar to you, others not so much. You don’t need to quote Aesop verbatim but rather just understand the message being conveyed. Try it out each day and see the right answer the following day.
Yesterday’s answer: The translation-babble said, “He is his own the real world as grow the desire for the reward will not be deprived of it, the good not.” Aesop said, “In the real world, greed grows wealthy while honesty gets unrewarded.”
Try this one today: “For practical approach is more powerful than the brag be in vain.”
A Point Well Made:
Thomas E. Cronin: “Writing is one of the grand, free human activities.”
1. The opposite of ULTIMACY is
2. You often _____ if you believe in the ultimacy of family.
A. get involved in petty squabbles
B. sacrifice time you could have spent on work or with friends
C. ponder your personal academic and professional future
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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