Once more, note that the word preceding any parenthesis in this column is wrong while the correct form is bracketed—except otherwise expressly stated or in reference to ‘sic’ or other regular attributions (sources).
DAILY INDEPENDENT of October 24 welcomes us this week with a tripod of jaundiced editorial and advertorial entries:”2022: Gang up against APC ’ll fail—Kalu” Politics: Gang-up
“The Manna Prayer Mountain Ministry will hold it’s (its) November Anointing Service….” (Full-page advertisement)
THE GUARDIAN of October 23 equally nurtured four terrible editorial and advertorial improprieties: “Yobe imposes curfew in (on/upon) Potiskum”
“He also said that (the word preceding this bracket is simply otiose—it is mere padding) the National Assembly is (was) to review the roles assigned to….” With a few (informed) discretional exceptions, the rules of reported speech are fixed and standardized.
“Celebrate the fastest growing (fastest-growing) network in 9ja” (Full-page advert by Etisalat)
“ICJ ruling on Bakassi: How Nigeria botched a last minute (last-minute) opportunity” (AIT News Scroll, October 18 Morning Belt) A station of this status should not advertise adjectival bliss! It questions public recognition.
“My senior (elder) brother, Femi….” (Guinness Nigeria PLC serial advertisement on DStv) ‘senior’ is exclusive to workplace/office/official environments—its usage here embarrassingly contradicts the family context of the advertisement in question).
Overheard: “I want to barb my hair….” Get it right: I want to have a hair-cut—except if the person meant that he was going to put barbs/thorns on his hair, which is most unlikely!
“Police launches public information/complaint boxes” Police: always plural, never singular, verb.
“He said the completion rate of primary education is (was) 64 per cent.…”
“FG orders new electricity firms to take-off soonest” Phrasal verbs do not admit hyphenation.
“Police boss assures on security” Who did he assure? There are transitive and intransitive verbs.
“Let me start by congratulating the readers of this column for (on/upon) their tenacity.”
“The police seems (seem) not to be in a hurry to tell the public what caused the University of Port Harcourt barbarism.”
“…friends and relations while the grassroot (grassroots) degenerate.”
“These people have been declared persona non grata several times, arrested and done bodily harm.” This way: personae non grata (plural). Singular: persona non grata.
“HIV/AIDS: Family Health International Rounds Up Alive 2022” Living Healthy: it is sickening that a reporter and his sub-editor colleague cannot differentiate between ‘round off’ and ‘round up’! It is unfortunate that this particular blunder keeps recurring.
“We forget that the way we handle such matters speaks volume (volumes) of the kind of people we….”
“National integration based on coerciveness resulting to (in).…”
“This is not to say that ethnic chauvinism or hatred are non-existence (is non-existent) in Yugoslav politics….”
“Africa is steeped in fetish wickedness, ancestral generational curses, jealous friends, aunts, and unhappy mother-in-laws et cetera.” It could be you: mothers-in-law.
“Buhari-bashing has suddenly become a national past-time.” In defence of PMB as he begins to round off an uneventful tenure: pastime.
“Doctors strike: A post mortem” This way: Doctors’ strike: A post-mortem.
“…government should be able to rely on foreign medical expatriates in building a strong healthcare delivery system.” ‘Foreign expatriates’? This is lexical paralysis!
“…the kind of danger African soldiering has continued to pose to political development and stability in (on) the continent.”
My mix-up (penultimate Saturday): “…are their (there) cannibals that are not blood thirsty?” Apologies and thanks to the eagle-eyed reader who excitedly caught me in my own game! Such eye-popping and good-intentioned reactions are welcome.
Another reader also sought to know if media houses still had proofreaders. I believe there are still last gatekeepers in newspaper establishments. Most of the errors in publications today border on ignorance and laziness to read—not carelessness. If you are not optimally exposed to standard books and other printed materials and scholarly circumstances/environments, including new media technologies, you cannot be proficient in the use of the English language. It is not a mechanistic stuff; it requires voracious reading, always. So, the issue goes beyond having proofreaders or not. Just by the way, I started my classical journalism career as a proofreader in the Daily Times of yore—long, long before the viral interjection of the Anosikes!
Finally, another reader said he read elsewhere that ‘gossiper’ was also right for ‘gossip’. For me, it depends on its contemporaneousness. In the currency of my time, I insist on ‘gossip’ being my preferred (British) entry. ‘Gossiper’ sounds vernacularly archaic and is unknown to my dictionaries/reference materials—particularly grammarly.com! Are there other views on this controversy?
I profusely thank Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, who needs no introduction on account of his robust antecedents and current assignation, for those appreciative words via SMS a fortnight ago. Columnists cherish such humble interventions, especially when they come from members of the literati and fellow journalistic Field Marshals. A similar boost also came from another colleague in the pen fraternity and one of the pillars of the Public Relations Consultants’ Association of Nigeria, Mr. Muyiwa Akintunde (ex-DTN man), an integrated marketing communications engineer reputed for strategic perception management. More reactions—critical, observatory, contributory or laudatory—are welcome.
“The feeling is that many don’t want to be seen to take a position which would be interpreted as confrontational and as such they have resulted (resorted) to lobbying prominent figures outside government to….”
“These 17 luxury cars and SUVs of the late Alhaji Abubakar Audu which will make any Arabian Sheik grin (green or green with envy) are parked in Audu’s GRA Jos adopted home.
“The actual name of the person expected to chairman (chair/preside over) this occasion is….”
Wrong: atimes; right: at times (two words)
“Those who have the power to release the suspect but are passing the bulk (buck) to the courts should be informed that it is against the national interest to refuse to release….”
“The former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, explained that it was not the first time that banks would be liquidated and that the history of bank failure in the country dated (dates) back to 1958 or 1959.” Note: dates back to or dates back from is a stock expression.
“In reaction to the leaflets being circulated, the Kano State Commissioner of Police…made a radio and television broadcast telling the people to ignore the leaflets which he described as the handiwork of mischieve (mischief) makers.” Special note: make-believe (not make-belief).
“When the storm rages, men can do nothing about the storm, but when the storm has seized (ceased), its destruction can be redressed.”
Theoretical linguists, curriculum experts and “educationalists” (educationists or educators), working together or separately, have been busy putting forward suggestions for language education reform. Note especially: “educationalist”, like “unwieldy” or “invitee” or “indisciplined”, is not in any respected dictionary. These comic words were invented by Nigerians.
“Armed robbers again jolted the commercial city of Lagos last week Friday (last Friday/Last Friday week or on Friday, last week).”
“Students write exams half naked (half-dressed/half clothed/half covered or half clad, or naked/bare to the waist).”