Something exceptional is what goes out of the ordinary or normal. East adjective, therefore, it is used to refer to what extraordinary or what is a exception.
For instance: “Lionel Messi is an exceptional footballer that every coach wants to have in his team“, “The concert was exceptional: the band reviewed their best-known songs in a three-hour show”, “Faced with the crisis, the monarch offered the first exceptional speech of his reign”.
Many times the concept of exceptional is used as a positive qualifier to define something or someone wonderful, fantastic or great. A sports journalist, in this sense, can point to Roger Federer as a exceptional tennis player. This is due to talent that the Swiss athlete shows when playing and the achievements he has obtained throughout his career.
In a similar sense, a film critic can affirm that a movie is exceptional since, at least in his opinion, all its components are outstanding and fit together perfectly. The specialist liked the performances, the direction, the script and the rest of the various edges that make up the film: that is why he did not hesitate to define it as exceptional.
The exceptional is also what escapes the common or the routine. Suppose that, in a club, a monthly assembly is usually held to discuss different topics. However, in a certain month, a certain event leads the board of directors to convene a exceptional assembly: that is, to an extra meeting for the treatment of the event in question.
This last example is, in fact, the one that responds more precisely to the true meaning of the term exceptional, since there is no positive nuance in it naturally. However, in everyday speech, and as the situations set out in the previous paragraphs demonstrate well, we do use it to describe beings with virtues out of the ordinary or creations with an almost perfect finish, among other possibilities.
In this sense, we can say that the exceptional is rare; the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy uses this same word to explain that exceptional things take place “rarely”. Of course, if we brand a person as exceptional everyone will understand that we admire her, while if we call her strange, more information will be needed to know if we are neglecting it or praising.
This difference has more to do with the receiver than with the sender, and is directly linked to factors cultural: within the same society, there are people who accept the concept of rarity as something positive, or at least potentially positive, while others relegate it to negative issues. In general, the higher the education level, the greater the acceptance of differences, the greater the openness to change and the incorporation of the strange in one’s life to broaden one’s horizons.
There are certain areas in which it is not possible to interchange these two terms, at least not without modifying the message considerably; for example, it is not the same to say “This food is exceptional” that «This food is strange«. Although the intention of the sender may be the same, the meaning of the second sentence is more difficult to deduce, since at first glance it gives the impression that they did not like the food, probably because it is a dish with ingredients or with a way of preparation that he was not used to; An exceptional dish, on the other hand, is always one that leaves us satisfied like few others, and we label it in this way to recommend it to our friends and family.