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.

6 Comments »

  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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