You are welcome to our language therapeutic class—thanks to Otunba (Chief) Femi Adesina for confirming me a language therapist on grounds of my professorial interventions in the clinical use of the English language. Indeed, the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of this medium, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh, jocularly calls me ‘Prof’. I hope I have not blown my trumpet!
“One of the problems besetting the Nigerian oil sector is the refining of petroleum products by International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country without investing the money into (in) developing the sector. But, the Federal Government has warned the oil majors to stop such practice (a practice)….”
“…who are actually the nerve wire (livewire) of any government.”
“Trump: a wakeup (wake-up) call for Africa”
“Senators back EFCC’s retention of 2% recovered loots”… ‘loot’ is uncountable.
“Revenue generating (Revenue-generating) agencies stink”
“Can we begin to have confidence on (in) INEC?”
“Some of these areas include producing enough food to feed our teaming (teeming) population.”
“Rather, the money, including the N200 million per state released for special purposes, was diverted to other uses.” We certainly do not need the last three words in the extract, having been taken care of by ‘diversion’.
“Unless the detonating mechanism of extremist religious chauvinism is diffused….” Get it right: defused (not diffused).
“They have decided to sheath their machetes and seek vengeance no more.” Noun: sheath; verb: sheathe.
THISDAY of August 28 requires reformation of four lines: “The sources of revenue in a city like Lagos is very important.” Still on errors of attraction (more below): The sources… are.
“…business downturn resulting to (in) drive-wandering.”
“…the rapaciousness of project contractors increase (increases) the country’s debt burden.”
“Senior civil servants’ union berate junior counterparts” Inside business: union berates.
THE GUARDIAN of August 28 questioned linguistic rules on two occasions: “It’s the poet feared most, knowing fully (full) well that one of the….”
“The agitated crowd, who had been whipped to hysteria, demanded for his head.…” To avoid mayhem, delete ‘for’ from the extract.
“…And which provides a noble and humanistic framework for relations between the state and citizens in (on) our continent.”
“But in the welter of these realignment of forces…” Re-thinking development: this realignment of forces.
VANGUARD of August 28 circulated three goofs: “The fear along the room and corridor (corridors) of power of a sovereign national conference.…”
“It is not in doubt that most of the commuters in the luxurious (luxury) buses that ply.…”
“…Aba traders constitute a large proportion of the passengers on commercial aircrafts (aircraft) that fly….”
“Major reorganization of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), which may lead to mass retirement and sack of its men and officers, now looms.” Get it right: a major reorganization or major reorganizations, as context demands.
“One of the most outrageous abuses occured.…” Spelling in the lurch: occur, occurrence, occurred.
“I do not buy the argument that the advent of electronic mails and network computers have rendered postal services obsolete.” Not yet time for structural proximity: the advent of electronic mails and network computers has (not have).
“In doing this, however, he must be faithful to the mandate of the ECOWAS Heads of Government under whose platform he operates.” Agenda: on (not under) whose platform he operates
“As Nigerian editors converge in (on) Katsina for their 10th Annual Meeting.…”
“A government white paper on the demonstration….” Sheer abuse of words! ‘White paper’ is a report issued by government to give information. Let’s respect words. After all, reporting is all about telegraphic brevity.
“UNN students union honour vice chancellor” What is happening? Sub-editors of these days show traces of illiteracy! This way: UNN students’ union honours VC
“The fact that some people eat food that does nothing for their physical well-being put them in the class of the poor.” The fact…puts.
“The richer nations who (sic) have more than enough should in this moment of great need and expectation by the poor masses (the masses are basically poor) be their brothers’ keepers.” Standard sociolinguistics: ‘brother’s keeper’—whether one or more.
“Any further discourse on it, some might say, amounts to nothing but over-flogging a dead horse.” You flog, not over-flog, a dead horse, talking idiomatically.
“Like few (a few in this context) years ago, a life cow was allegedly buried….” ‘Life cow’ in place of ‘live cow’ portrays sub-literacy.
“Opponents of private universities claim that they will aggravate the unemployment problem in the country.” ‘Unemployment’ is certainly a problem—so, why worsen it by adding another ‘problem’?
“Denmark has just played an historic role in….” ‘An historic role’ is the type of expression Ndaeyo Uko calls Elizabethan English! Current syntactic trend: ‘a historic.…’
“One of the enduring concerns at the workshop concerned the role and orientation of the military with regards to our democratic aspirations.” Received English: ‘as regards’ or ‘with regard to’
“…the two ethnic rivals are now creating the impression that they are about to re-open (no hyphen) their old wounds and embark on another round of strive (strife).”
“They have in most cases remained willing collaborators in the de-politicization of the political system by acquiescing to virtually all the issues….” Get it right: acquiesce in (not to).
“And the neglect of such costs lead to political and economic imbalance that create disequilibria in the larger society.“ The two verbs in this sentence (‘lead’ and ‘create’) demand singular usage to agree with ‘neglect’ and ‘imbalance.’
“The criteria for the choice of candidates was based on partisan political loyalties and ethnic considerations.” The plural of ‘criterion’ is ‘criteria’.
“NSE parleys foreign stock exchange” ‘Parley’ takes ‘with’, if it must be used in this sense at all.
By the way, is it not amazing that some Nigerian sub-editors do not know what they ‘N’ in ‘NUJ’ represents? It is Nigeria (not Nigerian) Union of Journalists. One keeps coming across the unpardonable error in reputable newspapers and magazines.
“All Nigerian Editors Conference” Editing editors: All-Nigeria Editors’ Conference.