EXPRESSION BY Ebere Wabara
THISDAY of July 6 underdeveloped the English language on two occasions: ”The state has (had) a population of 3.9 million in 2006 spread over 31 local government areas….”
“…which aims to eradicate (which aims at eradicating) potholes on all township roads in Uyo, Ikot Ekpene and Eket.”
THE GUARDIAN of July 3 disseminated dozens of advertorial and editorial errors: “Win one of 10 all expense paid tickets to the Olympics!” Go for an Olympic expression: Win one of 10 all-expenses-paid tickets to the Olympics! The era of sanctity of advert copies is gone.
“Corp members protest posting to crisis-prone states” No news: simply corpers instead of ‘corp (corps, if at all) members’.
“The sources said that (sic) the Presidency believes (believed) that Mimiko has (had) the acumen….”
“…so as to avert a repeat or reoccurrence of this kind of thing in future.” Still on Dana Air tragedy: recurrence—would it have been in the past? Let’s think as we write.
Still on THISDAY of July 6: “The Board and Management of Brittania-U Nigeria Limited congratulates (sic) you, (otiose comma) for adding a new feather (a feather) to (in) your cap….” (Full-page Advert in honour of the AGF and Justice Minister) The Board and Management are two entities in corporate structures hence the need for pluralism.
Most electronic and print colleagues of mine are fond of using the expression “commissioning of…project”. This is wrong! The only close (contextual) verbal application of ‘commission’ is ‘to officially ask somebody to write, make or create something or to do a task for you.’ Two examples: ‘She has been commissioned to write a new national anthem. Publishers have commissioned a French translation of the book.’ So, instead of this manifest absurdity, let us use ‘inaugurate’/’launch’/’unveil’….
From Vanguard of June 29 comes this: “Defunct NITEL workers lay siege on ministry” For the sake of Uncle Sam Amuka, I will not lay siege to the Kirikiri Canal office of the medium which is working towards a better life for the people.
Overheard on July 13: “It is over a year ago since we met.” ‘Ago’ and ‘since’ cannot co-function. So: It is over a year ago that we met.
THE GUARDIAN of June 29 carried two infelicities: “…Nwodo spoke to journalists in Enugu on his role in the controversial dissolution of the state executive of the state chapter of the PDP, which has pit (pitted) him against the state government.”
“He recently visited Nigeria and had a chat with The Guardian…where he bares (bared) his mind….”
“…we had to be praying we should not meet ourselves (one another) at the war front.” (THE NATION, June 29)
“They both died in Abuja in a ghastly (fatal) motor accident.” ((THE PUNCH, June 29) Once a vehicular mishap results in death, it is fatal. But, if there is no loss of life, it is ghastly. There is a clear distinction between fatalistic finality and ghastliness.
“The minister at (on) the occasion remarked that his administration was determined to make a difference by opening new frontiers inspite (in spite) of….” (Nigerian Tribune, June 29)
“I would have advised that the wishes of the people is (sic) the most paramount….” (DAILY INDEPENDENT, June 29) You know the issue here.
“…that it will not be fair to the people and it is high time we take him by his words and relied on him.” (THE GUARDIAN, June 29) It is high time we took (or time we take) Rutam House seriously on crumbling professional excellence.
“Less than 20 of them had just taken their seats when suddenly, (needless comma) there was a big bang and the steel pillars carrying the big tank situated between two classroom blocks….” (SATURDAY TRIBUNE, July 16) ‘Big bang’ reminds me of ‘heavy downpour’ and ‘mass exodus’! Dear reader, flee from unnecessary embellishments (big, heavy and mass). Why not between classroom blocks?
“She speaks (is it a continuous process?) on her mission and what she has in stock (store) for the rural woman in Africa.” (SATURDAY TRIBUNE, July 7) What do Nigerian newspapers have in store for readers?
“What to know about beddings” (Nigerian Tribune, June 29) Uncountable: heyday, yesteryear, bedding, cutlery, infrastructure, harassment, stationery, et al.
“…Osun CAN receives PDP decampees” (Vanguard, June 29)) British Standard English: Simply, defectors. ‘Decampees’ is a Nigerian creation.
“50 persons arrested over obaship (you either italicize or quote non-English words in formal writing) crisis in Ogun community” (THE NATION, June 29) Next time, I will arrest this soar-away medium for (not over) lexical laxity.
“Complaint galore over boxing weigh-in scales” (Daily Independent, June 29) This way: complaints galore.
The next two headline blunders are from THE NATION of June 24: “Peak warms up to consumers” Grammar is not a shopping affair: just worm up to readers.
“CBN boss absorbs FCMB MD of fraud” Dear reader, who will absolve this medium of linguistic fraud?
“Between the strenght of the naira and inflation risk” (BUSINESSDAY, July 2)) The spelling and grammar icon of any computer detects this kind of juvenile error: strength, but straight, please!
“…on the ground (grounds) of massive irregularities….” (THE GUARDIAN, July 7)
“It is unfortunate that politics has degenerated into this mindless bubble and reducing (reduced) leaders to mere liars (a liar or sinner does not require qualification!) in the face of opportunism.” (Source: as above)
“The result was that what was supposed to be a consensus agreement willingly entered into by…” Is ‘consensus agreement’ a new morphological combination? Next time, just deploy either.