“But the selfsame (same) Britain did rule this country, Nigeria, for “a whole 100 (good 100 or all of 100) years.” Special note: ‘whole’ is used for a SINGULAR NOUN (e.g. a whole year, the whole country, a whole university graduate) and NOT for plural nouns.
“How is the programme fairing (faring) in Bauchi State?” Note: How did you fare (not fair) in your examination?
As the late Bayo Oguntuase used to say, I have become, like Ndaeyo Uko, a man well-known for his sardonic wit and wisdom and for his penchant for the use of irony and pun. Truly, some Nigerians, including journalists, writers and columnists, are trying their hardest to un-English the English language beyond recognition, just like the people of Virgin Islands! These people’s variety of English is called ‘Calypo English’ just as the African–Americans have ‘South or Black English.’ And Nigerians have ‘Nigerian English’! But English, like truth, is one.
It should be noted that although “still yet” is not accepted as a standard phrase, “yet still” is quite accepted. “Yet still” is used by modem writers, particularly British journalists and writers. Example: “At home (in the U.S.A) the terrifying problems of crime, racial violence, social disharmony refused to yield to oratory, however inspiring, or to law, however comprehensive yet still the Kennedy magic advanced. He was not really a radical; if anything, he was a careful conservator. Some select people called “speech writers” are very fond of mechanical errors that result in failed, fractured or diseased English. It is very sad. Yes, it is our moral duty to ensure that some folk are not allowed to kill this universal language.
Please note that while ‘general consensus’ is unacceptable, ‘broad consensus’ is and while ‘heavy downpour’ is not allowable, ‘great downpour’ is.
Education Today of November 6 created misunderstanding: “…the seeming connivance of the judiciary with those intent in (on/upon) protecting the criminals in our midst.”
“The suspects are walking free in the society, enjoying their loots and attracting more political patronages.” ‘Loot’ is uncountable.
“…in the guise of delivering same (the same) as bribe to the Commission’s officers to ‘kill’ such cases under investigation.” ‘Same’, in formal—and even most informal—contexts, cannot stand alone.
“The highest value of university education is not just about imparting knowledge on (to) individuals….”
“Nigeria loses N533bn to sugar importation” (THE PUNCH, November 5) A rewrite: Nigeria spends N533b on sugar import
The Guardian of November 4 comes next with a pack of foibles amid other offences: “…which also congratulated the Sierra-Leonean (sic) people for (on/upon) the peaceful conduct of their election and pledged support for their democratic process.”
“The United Nations, which had borne much of the burden of restoring peace in (to) the country….”
“The re-elected president should eschew witch-hunting (witch-hunt) of the opposition….”
More mistakes from THE GUARDIAN: “They have proved themselves as medical professionals per (par) excellence.”
“…and stand a chance to win an all expense paid trip to Qatar 2022.” (Advertisement by…name withheld!) At least two winners must emerge daily: an all-expenses-paid trip….
“For more details (a comma) go to…or call the Guinness toll free (toll-free) line on….”
“…the labour leaders have decided to bury their hatchets and come together again….” Fixed expression (irrespective of number): bury the hatchet.
“Remarkably (Remarkable) as well, (needless comma) was the huge success recorded of (in) this year’s Comptroller General’s Annual Conference just concluded in Kastina (sic).”
Finally from the Back Page of The Guardian under review: “Do we have to wait till someone effect (effects) a change?”
“Today, Muhammadu Buhari sits on (in) the saddle of governance.”
“Israel moves to diffuse (defuse) tension with Egypt”
“The objective was attained quite alright.” ‘Alright’ is not all right in formal environments.
“The Zikists are his political offsprings and despite all the betrayals we have witnessed of recent….’ ‘Offspring’ is non-count.
“When the storm rages, men can do nothing about it, but when it has seized (ceased), its destruction could be addressed.”
“Students write exams half-naked.” It is a lie! They write exams half-dressed/half-clad/half-clothed/half-covered or naked/bare to the waist.
“I stood up, took another naira note and put it near my half-empty (half-full) beer glass.”
“The classroom was filled to capacity (filled) as early as….”
“How did you fair (fare) in your examination?”
“The feeling is that many don’t want to be seen as taking a position which would be interpreted as confrontational and as such they have resulted (resorted) to lobbying….”
“Do not pass the bulk (buck) to anyone….”
“Emiefule 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.” There is also ‘dates back from.’
I react to ‘Eniola Bello’s point’ a fortnight ago. I say the distinction between ‘contradictory’ and ‘paradoxical’ is a distinction without a difference. Further, to imply, as he did, that it is possible for a person to express the emotions of sadness and gratitude simultaneously is to take, ignorantly or unconsciously, confused verbal imagery to the sphere of intellectual fraud. The ideas, logically and psychologically, are mutually exclusive.
Please let him look up again the words, ‘sorrow’, ‘gratitude’, ‘contradiction’ and ‘paradox’, in the dictionary and answer the question: Can or should a person be sad over something he is grateful for? Regarding his sexual analogy, I say nobody in their lucid moment says thank you genuinely to an oppressor!
Finally, they can co-function but only confusedly whereas effective communication must be lucid. Wabara you have my vote! (Hon. Barrister Dave Oputteh/08031830352)
MIND your language is a guide to reality. Language is not about logic. Language is not always logical. It is often illogical—it is about commonsense!
Besides, in the instant context, ardent grammarians have come out with the idiom ‘cold comfort’. Words are but cold comfort at such a time when a member of the family had passed away. Therefore, ‘sorrow’ and ‘gratitude’ can co-function.
I usually write about what I know. Besides, I have about 150 books on the English language alone and not fewer than 12 dictionaries and several English or language-related books. I do make mistakes, like any other human being. Nobody knows it all!
However, nothing is final in language. We can only appeal to authority on language. Keep it up, brother! (From my archives)
YOUR persistent efforts to point out and correct the obvious omissions of colleagues of ours are appreciated by some and misconstrued by others.
Today, all caution seems to have been thrown to the winds, and the value of good writing, which should be the hallmark of every respectable newspaper, has become subordinate to the rush for exclusive and sensational stories which lack depth and quality.
This, however, is not to say that mistakes cannot be made in the course of producing a newspaper.
But journalists will make fewer mistakes if they read illuminating columns like this and a few others elsewhere. (Kenneth Ugbechie, publisher, Nigeria Political Economist/08056801124 & 08034364524)