– The Sun News

Congratulate on/upon, not ‘for’

THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER, of August 5 welcomes us this week: “Man arrested over (for) Badoo killings denies involvement”   

“…looks at the recent rebranding of Etisalat as 9Mobile and what this portends for the future of the brand as it strives to come out of its recent travails” Delete ‘future of the’: what this portends for the brand. ‘Portend’ deals with something that is going to happen—not past!

“Bolt poise (poised) to be all-time best”

“We have POS terminals deployed to (in) the markets.”

“However this is a technology driven (technology-driven) lottery game.”                                                                                                                                         

“IGP unveils devise (device) to track stolen cows” Noun: device; verb: devise—in British Standard English, which I strictly advocate in its optimal purity.

“Abia lawmaker commended as Dogara commissions (inaugurates) projects in Aba”

“IGP reads riot act to police chiefs” (DAILY Sun Front Page Headline, July 31) Agreed that definite and indefinite articles (the, a, an) are avoided in headline casting as much as possible, but exceptions must be allowed in the case of a fixed/stock expression like ‘the riot act’. Journalistic/poetic/satiric/stylistic principles cannot supersede etymological, lexical, grammatical, structural, syntactic or linguistic laws, generally. What about ‘IGP warns police chiefs’?

“Police in Enugu arrest hospital worker over (for) employment scam” Furthermore: arrest somebody in connection with or on a charge/suspicion of something—certainly not ‘over’ something. Most newspapers are routinely guilty of this language juvenility.

“Kalu said his political decisions have (had) always been in the interest of Igbo and Nigerians.” Nobody should misrepresent the publisher of this medium!

The next gaffe is from the Editorial of Voice of The Nation—DAILY SUN—of July 31: “While we congratulate the government of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and the APC for (on/upon) winning the election….”

“NECA demands CPC compliance with court ruling” A rewrite: “NECA demands CPC’s compliance with court’s ruling

“APGA faces fresh gang up (gang-up) from APC, PDP”

“Trainings were held yesterday at the sports academy.” Viewpoint: ‘training’ is uncountable.

“Commissioner wants more vigilante groups” Rutam, hello: vigilance groups.

“The article was an insult on the Federal Government, the National Assembly and an affront on the ICPC and its competent and hardworking staff.” Justice in service of community: an affront to (not on) the ICPC.  And, of course, an insult to (not on) the FG

“For quite sometime (some time) now, the poor and deteriorating condition of public infrastructure….”

“A few weeks ago, there was some news report (a news report) about the involvement of….” This way: ‘some news report’ is an informal English entry. Why use it when you can clinically say ‘a news report’ or ‘some news reports’, depending on context?

“…all the major roads in the Eastern part of the country have become pure death traps and for challenging his (President’s) non-challant attitude and doing anything positive in Igbo land.”  Get it right: nonchalant.

“Trump, North Korea Minister hold talks” Foreign Affairs: North Korean Minister.

“…there have been series of polemical attacks of (on) the commission and its activities by an obscure and often fictitious section of the public.”  This way: a (take note) series of polemical attacks.

“The president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces also addressed the nation same evening.”  Get it right: the same evening.

“INEC apologizes over aborted PDP convention” To live in truth is to serve: apologize for something or to somebody.

“The most impassible (impassable) roads accentuate the usual hectic traffic of motorists, making business transactions in Lagos a herculean task.”

“…robbers who held residents and commuters to ransome for hours….” Spell-check: ransom.

“I doff my hat for…” The right mix: I take off or doff my hat to (not for).

“Out of a lawyers’ population estimated at about 20,000, only five females have been opportuned (opportune or have had the opportunity) to adorn the silk.”

“This is another scintillating edition for the matured (mature) mind.”

“Preponderant of the views aired by the people centre around issues like corruption, unemployment….” Running a true federation: Preponderance…centres….

“Benue assures on abandoned project” Just tell readers who the state assured.

“A recent report on food related (a hyphen) ailments show (shows) that in many parts of the world….”

“Unfortunately, however, I, and many other Nigerians have been infuriated by our servants….” In pursuit of linguistic orderliness: many other Nigerians and I.   The concept of the cart and the horse applies to language usage, too.

“But all our future blessing would be achieved through waiting in the Lord.”  If you are after God’s heart, you wait on, not in, the Lord.

“Before embarking on the strike action….” You can as well embark on the ‘strike inaction’! Simply ‘strike’.

“It was as though both informants were mischievous people who had an affinity in (for) discrediting the preacher.”

“The vigilante group visited instant judgment on the thief and sent him to the great beyond.”  Again, in the name of excellence: vigilance group.

“Sixteen people were killed and two others seriously injured in a ghastly (fatal) accident which occurred along (on) the Bauchi-Auchi road on Saturday.” If there were casualties, it follows that it was a fatal, not a ghastly, accident.  The mishap did not drag along the road, but occurred at a spot on the road—there may be exceptions in multiple vehicular accidents.

“Some of the despotic regimes thrown up in (on) the continent did worse things than was experienced under colonialism.”

“A weekly magazine took a professional risk and charged the speaker for (with) forgery.”

“…the same-day election is being proposed by the senate as part of the antidote for….” This way: antidote to….


IT seems to me that your pen brothers either do not read your “Wordsworth” or they are simply lazy in the head. Now, in whose pool of blood is a person shot or stabbed to death supposed to lie?

(ONY NWABUFO, Abuja/08092055256)

More informed and lucid reactions, contributions, observations, comments, interventions, elucidations and questions are welcome. Such scholastic materials will make the column interactive and foreclose my authoritarian magistracy-cum-legislative inclinations!


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1 Comment

  1. Agbogashi 9th August 2017 at 4:36 pm

    I doff my hat to you Mr Wabara

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