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When I am Copyeditor General ...: Winners will just be winners


Winners will just be winners

During the Red Sox-Angels playoff game earlier this week, one of the announcers mentioned that both Josh Beckett and John Lackey were among "the winningest pitchers" in the American League this year.


I yelled at the TV, of course. What was I supposed to do?

Not that this was the first time I've encountered the phrase (or the last; today's Metro GameDay notes that on this day in 2001, the Mariners became "the winningest team in American League history").

But why? No, really, why?

Is the player who steals most bases the stealingest? Is the hitter with the most bunts the buntiest? Is the Gold Glove winner the catchiest?

(Please, no comments about the technical inaccuracy of my examples. Kyle, I'm looking in your direction.)

You get my point, though, right? Is there such a dearth of ways to describe the most capable, the most sucessful, the most athletic and agile, that we're forced to create these mutants?

Oh, you may say, but this isn't made up; it's right there in the dictionary. (Merriam-Webster, how could you?).

I prefer to side with the likes of The Grammarphobia Blog, which notes: "The American Heritage entry classifies [winningest] as 'informal' usage. The 'informal' gives all right-thinking people a good excuse to avoid it."

Copyeditor General's ruling: Don't even get me started on "to medal."

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