Mighty Red Pen

October 30, 2007

A perennial problem

Filed under: Grammar goddess,Overseen,Pop culture,Word wars — mighty red pen @ 6:29 pm

Well-documented that MRP has love for the Red Sox, but not so much for this description of them I saw in an article today:

At noon today, the Boston Red Sox will take to the streets in yet another victory parade, their second in four seasons, to celebrate a World Series sweep of the Colorado Rockies that marks the team not as a fluke, but a perennial powerhouse.

Since perennial means “perpetual; everlasting; continuing; recurrent” and the Red Sox have won the World Series twice in four years, I find the characterization of them as a perennial powerhouse debatable.

Their winning the World Series several times in the early part of the 20th century notwithstanding, natch.



  1. The writer of said article was just fishing around for nice big words to use. ;o)

    Comment by Blue — October 31, 2007 @ 9:09 am | Reply

  2. Oh, MRP, you’re uniquely absolutist. When I plant my perennials (confession: I possess neither land nor flowers), do I expect them to bloom for my great-great-great-grandchildren? No, of course not. It’s a stretch to take perennial as permanent, though this team does have all its seeds in the right place.

    Comment by Helen's Dad — October 31, 2007 @ 11:28 am | Reply

  3. Oh, Helen’s Dad, always there to keep me on my toes. Well, I wasn’t even going to mention the whole horticultural use of the word perennial, but since you want to go there, here’s the deal. Perennial, when applied to plants, means a plant that comes back three or more seasons. Said another way, it’s a plant that comes back more than two seasons. So, no, even a botanist would say the Red Sox are not perennial.

    Comment by mightyredpen — October 31, 2007 @ 7:55 pm | Reply

  4. Blue’s comment reminded me of this recent Daily Show segment http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=127638&title=martin-the-sat

    It’s so alacrity.

    Comment by Elisabeth — November 2, 2007 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

  5. Wow, that is totally so alacrity. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by mightyredpen — November 3, 2007 @ 1:41 pm | Reply

  6. My OED gives one possible (non-botanical) definition of ‘perennial’ as ‘lasting through a year’. In this sense the Red Sox may be a perennial powerhouse.

    But I’m not sure how a second victory parade in four years can be ‘yet another’ one.

    Comment by JD — November 6, 2007 @ 8:04 am | Reply

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