unseasonable for this time of year
Posted: 09 January 2008 08:36 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I’ve been puzzling about this sentence for some days.  Seems there was a mid-winter tornado in our fair state that was caused by record high temperatures.  This strange weather caused this observation at one national news report,

“A January heat wave that at 63 degrees, shattered Milwaukee’s previous* January 10th record by 16 degrees. Chicago and Toledo broke 101-year-old records, reports Bowers.

“It’s very unseasonable for this time of year,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Sipprell. “The atmosphere is just right.”

Now, several observations up front.  This was not written down and reflected upon, so the redundancy should be forgiven.  But more important, why doesn’t the sentence work (in my mind at least) without the redundancy?  “This is very unseasonable.” would make good sense by itself, but seems abrupt and unnatural, like someone going out of their way to avoid a verb subject disagreement or ending a sentence with a preposition.  Does the “for this time of year” serve as an intensifier?

seems to for me.

Edit: *January 10th is tomorrow, so I’m confused, but that’s on another level.

[ Edited: 09 January 2008 08:41 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 10 January 2008 04:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I don’t see that the redundancy is necessary, but that’s just me.  As for the July 10th reference, it might be that was the previous high for the month of January.

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Posted: 10 January 2008 07:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I would say it’s not an intensifier, but a clarifier (if there is such a thing) as to what season is referenced.

Consider, alone and without the context of a report on January weather:
63 degrees is an unseasonable temperature.
What does that mean? Is it un-winter-like, un-spring-like, ...?  In the context, the sentence is okay, but by itself it’s not, so mightn’t it be better to clarify the context further just in case?

To the second part: The topic is January heat waves.  What day the previous January high fell on is pertinent/interesting as one might expect the 31st to be generally warmer than the 9th while the 10th not so much.

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Posted: 10 January 2008 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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It’s a redundancy as far as I’m concerned. The fact of the repetition proves that the word “unseasonable” has lost some meaning. “Unseasonably” warm or cold used to be a perfectly comprehensible construct all on its own.

Yesterday I heard an interviewee saying, “they literally put me through hell.” What the hell is that supposed to mean? That they sent him down to talk to Satan, who placed him alternately over open flames and in ice?

The person in question could have said “unseasonable for January,” which would have added information. “For this time of year” adds no information unless you already happen to know it’s January, in which case it’s unnecessary. I’d go along with Myridon in saying it’s a clarifier to express that he’s talking about the present, as opposed to another season.

Further, I’d agree with Oeco that “this is very unseasonable” doesn’t work, or sounds abrupt. I believe this may be due to the awkwardness of the word itself, which apparently has no verbal antecedant other than in cooking; therefore, it may demand more secure placement in a context. It’s somewhat similar to “unconscionable” in regards to the lack of a verb “to conscion” and to the relative infrequency of the antonym “conscionable.” But maybe the whole thing could be cleared up if it could be shown to be a borrowing from a French word such as “saisonable” (which googling seems to render unlikely).

[ Edited: 10 January 2008 09:37 AM by Iron Pyrite ]
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Posted: 10 January 2008 11:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Iron Pyrite - 10 January 2008 08:23 AM

Yesterday I heard an interviewee saying, “they literally put me through hell.” What the hell is that supposed to mean? That they sent him down to talk to Satan, who placed him alternately over open flames and in ice?

It means “figuratively”, just like:

‘Lift him out,’ said Squeers, after he had literally feasted his eyes in silence upon the culprit. - Dickens, Nicholas Nickelby

“For this time of year” adds no new information, but not every single thing we say has to add new information. In fact many things we say necessarily do not add new information. Redundancy needs some better PR.

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Posted: 10 January 2008 11:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Well said, goofy.

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Posted: 10 January 2008 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Indeed. Well said.

Redundancy needs some better PR.

Especially in the area of my paycheck.

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Posted: 10 January 2008 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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No pun intended: redundant post.

[ Edited: 10 January 2008 11:24 AM by Iron Pyrite ]
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Posted: 10 January 2008 11:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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The problem with “it is unseasonable” is not the unseasonable, it is the it. It sounds abrupt because of the pronoun and one must consciously determine what the antecedent is. It’s just clunky, which may be why the redundant phrase was added.

“The weather is unseasonable” or “this warmth is unseasonable” are perfectly fine sentences.

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Posted: 16 January 2008 10:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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double post

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Posted: 16 January 2008 10:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Weathermen are somewhat redundant already, don’t you think?

So what is the big deal? ;)

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