“YOUR exploits in business and philanthropy has (have) indeed transformed the lives of many in our country and across the world.”
“…we wish you many more giant steps and trail blazing (trail-blazing) wins as you celebrate 64 years of incredible impact.”
Wrong: 64th birthday anniversary
Right: 64th Birthday
“On this day we remember…whose works, values and heart lives (live) on through us.”
“…but your values and legacy is (are) what has (have) shaped us and our teams.”
“Lagos rakes in N418bn IGR in 2020 despite COVID-19” (THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER, PAGE FIVE, April 17) Apart from being an informal phrase unfit for a standard medium, ‘rake in’ cannot apply to that humungous amount! There is no way you can make such an amount without working hard—as the faulty headline suggests—except you are into bunkering and money ritual, which even require some measure of dastard diligence!
“Nigeria sitting on precipice of social-economic (socioeconomic) disaster, minister warns” (NATIONAL NEWS, April 21)
“I, my family and the good people of…Wish (sic) you long life and prosperity.” A rewrite: The good people of…my family and I wish you….” There is sequence in collocation—you cannot put the cart before the horse. Once another person is involved, you come last!
“…as your (you) continue to contribute your own quota in (to) the nation building (nation-building) of our dear country, Nigeria”
“Though we commend the idea behind the establishment of the outfit, we feel it is (was) hastily done.”
“If there are (were) more people like you the world would have been a better place.”
“Your dedication, determination, and vision inspires (inspire) us to always give in our best in all we do.”
“We appreciate having someone wonderful like you at the helm of affairs.” Get it right: at the helm—no ’of affairs’!
“Today (a comma) I, my family and the…Progressives, (otiose punctuation) wishes (wish) you the best of….” The main blunder already treated.
“Your contributions to our nation and humanity is (are) indeed sublime and commendable.”
“May God continue to crown all your efforts with huge success (successes or a huge success).”
“…God will grant you more blissful life and heart (heart’s) desires as you soar higher in your future endeavours.” You cannot ‘soar lower’! This way: as you soar in your….
“Today, we celebrate our flag-bearers, those who go the extra mile to put You First.” Happy Customer Service Week: standard-bearers; not ‘flag-bearers’ which, unfortunately, has been subjected to notoriety by non-ideological Nigerian politicians and popularized by a few unintellectual colleagues of mine!
“Several videos shared on social media showed some of the protesters bolting away from the tear gas….” According to my copious dictionaries and other reference books, ‘bolt’ means “to suddenly run somewhere very quickly, especially in order to escape or because you are frightened.” Therefore, there is no room for ‘away’. Oftentimes, you hear or read: “The armed robbers bolted away before the police arrived.” The bandits simply bolted before….
“…he is unable to do same (the same) in….”
“Kwara Express staff seek governor’s intervention on (in) company’s N36.9m debt”
“Did you bought cake for me…?” No comment!
“Just imagine a young man that rounded up his apprenticeship as a welder.” This is an indication of the current malaise in scholarship: a situation where a lecturer cannot distinguish between phrasal verbs, ‘round up’ and ‘round off’ (which applies here).
“Will anybody please let us know which country became a super-power by allowing its best brains to roam about the world?” ‘Roam’ encompasses ‘about’.
“News from the universities are no longer about innovation.…” News is news (uncountable).
“The condition, which is said to be due to an abnormality in either the number or structure of the chromosomes, cuts across every races.” Get it right: every race or all races.
“Janet, a twelve-year-old and the third child of her parents’ four offsprings and the only one with the problem…” ‘Offspring’ is non-count.
“Since 1993, funding of oil exploration have (has) been beset by different levels of problems.”
“In answering this question we classify the outcomes into long term and short term implications.” The greatest problem of journalists: unnecessary embellishment (outcome) of words.
“This is clearly a danger signal as the time between discovering an oil field and commercially putting it on stream could be between four to five years.” No analysis: between four and five or from four to five years.
“THISDAY checks reveal that every termination penalties goes from 500,000 US dollars to 2 million US dollars”. Check the discord as already discussed above.
“Lack of funds cripple waste management activities” Another error of attraction: Lack of funds cripples.
“Nevertheless, the donor country is also interested in this decision to ensure that the loan is repaid as at when due with its accrued interest.” Without any periscope: the loan is repaid when due (not as at when due which is pleonastic).
“Government should consider the destructive effect that further delay in the sale of ‘shaky’ banks would mete out on the banking system”. Stock phrase: mete out to (not on) the banking system.
“If the family cannot truely relish at least a decent meat….” Spelling counts: truly.
“A man does not have to be a money bag (sic) before he can dress well and look charming in his own little way.” Brighten up your English usage: A man does not have to be moneybags…. Moneybag is a sac!
“…in addition, (sic) to dispensing drugs for immediate relief and giving counsel on the steps necessary to prevent a reoccurrence.” Good grammar: recurrence.
“…it sent the signal that those responsible for the security of lives and properties in Oyo State are working at cross-purposes”. Some caution, please: life and property.
“The arsonists usually escape with their loot as the embattled market lays in ashes, leaving many traders terminally ruined financially.” There should be no dilemma: ‘lays’ for ‘lies’?
“…Nehemiah whose determined efforts to rebuild the tottering walls of Jerusalem was (were) undertaken purely out of love for his country.”
“…analyst whose intellectual prowess and deep understanding of social issues knew no bound (bounds).” (NATIONAL NEWS, April 7)
“Poly senior staff union gives FG 21-days to address IPPIS complications” (Source: as above). This way: 3-week or 3 weeks’ ultimatum—not 21-days
Corrigendum following last week’s inadvertent misrepresentation here: “The yearnings for the special status for Lagos is (are)….” Thanks to the 70-year-old elder-statesman who pointed out this mix-up. More constructive and highly-appreciated observations, questions (clarifications/elucidations), interventions and general contributions are welcome from all readers. The essence is to make this column an interactive and all-inclusive platform for the exchange of cerebral perspectives.
CLASSIC FM 97.3 Front Page News Review of March 25 joins the hall of shame with this non-classical entry: “What is the criteria for…?” Get it right: criterion (singular) and criteria (plural). So, what are the criteria for…?
“Rumble in the ‘Desert’: ‘Joshua needs confident (confidence) to over come (overcome) Ruiz”
“Mr. Quality Projects is a labour friendly (labour-friendly) governor”
“We invite you to the commissioning ceremony (We invite you to the inauguration) on Wednesday….”
“Reps (Reps’) minority crisis: PDP torn between devil and deep blue sea” (Politics & Power, March 25) This way: between the devil and the deep blue sea (fixed/stock idiomatic expression that should not be altered).