The Sun News

Misquoting Wike, Obiano

“APC no match for (to) PDP—Wike”

“It was attack by hoodlums who disguised as masquerades (masqueraders)…” According to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English New Edition for Advanced Learners, among other reference books, ‘masquerade’ (noun and countable) is ‘a formal dance where people wear MASKS and unusual clothes’. Another meaning (countable and uncountable depending on context): ‘a way of behaviour or speaking that hides your true thoughts or feelings’. Its synonym is ‘pretence’. An example: ‘She didn’t really love him, but she kept up the masquerade for the children’s sake’. The word also functions as a verb. Anyone involved in the foregoing is a ‘masquerader’—obviously not a ‘masquerade’! 

“What we are saying is just remain faithful to the spirit and letters (sic) of the federal government.” (DAILY SUN, August 9)Get it right: the spirit and the letter of the law.

“Ozubulu killing: Obiano asks Anambra indigenes to wear black, observe minute silence” (Source: as above) In memory of the murdered Catholic Church worshippers: one-minute/two-minute etc silence

“Ex-council boss begs govt to clear Apapa drainage channels” (DAILY SUN Headline, August 7) This way: Apapa drains or drainage system—not ‘drainage channels’ because a drain or drainage system consists of operational channels or outlets.

“That the government is spending huge sums of money in search of crude oil in the Chad Basin at a time oil producing (oil-producing) nations….”

“Budget minister, Sen (Sen.) Egba commend NCC over (for) Tennis Cup” Journalism has really changed: decades ago I was taught that headlines should not be titled (Dr., Chief, Senator, Master, Mr., Miss, Mrs., Engr., Arc. Sur….et al)

The Guardian of July 14 fumbled two times:                                                “The United States has donated a whooping (whopping) N995 billion to the Multinational Joint Task Force to boost military operations against the Boko Haram insurgency, the U.S. government has said. Conscience, Nurtured by Truth: no whooping cough, please

“Also, the Presidency has pledged to garner the necessary investments to improve the wheeling capacity of the nation’s transmission infrastructure.” Would they have been ‘unnecessary’ investmen ts?

Still on THE GUARDIAN under focus: “He said that is (was) why he would come back to salvage the state and rescue it to put it back to realize it’s (its) pride of place as he left it in 2003 and go even beyond that.”

“Cash and carry (Cash-and-carry) democracy, bane of Nigeria’s development”

“Falana supports Soyinka’s objections on (to) Sexual Offences Bill”

“Train to become a certified child care personnel (official)” ‘Personnel’ is a collective noun.

“In other jurisdiction (another jurisdiction or other jurisdictions), you don’t just file for the sake of filing, you can’t just take a matter for the sake of taken (taking) it.”

“We therefore regret any inconveniences this might cause our esteem (esteemed) distributors. This announcement is ordered by Tiens Group—Nigeria.”

“NDIC boss charges corps members on bank saving (bank-saving) culture”

“…and newly-elected officials sworn-in (sworn in) at the federal and state levels….” Phrasal verbs abhor hyphenation.

“Oil swap (Oil-swap) contracts: AITEO not front for Jonathan, Alison-Madueke—Spokesperson” Except if the headline caster meant that oil was swapping contracts!

“Jigawa council chairmen pledge support to (for) APC govt”

“I wish you many more years in good health and prosperity, to further your accomplishments to (in) journalism and humanity (service to humanity, you mean?)”

“I and my wife, Lady (My wife, Lady…and I….) Etymological sequence is critical to good writing.

“Use of made-in Nigerian (Nigeria) cars by Mr. President will lift auto industry”

“Soyinka laments Chibok girls (girls’) continued captivity” (THE NATION ON SUNDAY, August 6)

THE NATION ON SUNDAY of July 30 comes up next with the following errors: “Dangote commissions (inaugurates/auspicates/launches, et al) $500 million cement plant in Ethiopia”

“Osinbajo to flag off (inaugurate) super highway in Cross River”

“First and foremost, you must look at the PDP; they mismanaged their victory and haven (having) mismanaged the victory….”

“The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria…played very prominent roles during the electioneering campaigns that ushered in the new administration.” ‘Electioneering’ and ‘campaigns’ cannot co-exist in the same lexical environment as the former encompasses the latter.

“On the occasion of your birthday anniversary….” For the umpteenth time, ‘birthday’ and ‘anniversary’ cannot co-function in the same lexical environment. ‘Birthday’ is the anniversary/commemoration of one’s birth.

Take note that the old, grammatical rule that “one” must be followed by “one” and its parts—“one, one’s, oneself”, has changed. The feeling that the repetition of “one”—one’s (e.g. One must do what one can to ensure one’s family a decent standard of living) makes for a stilted style has now led to the permissible shift from “one, one’s” to “he, his” (e.g. One must do what he can to ensure his family a decent standard of living).

In general, a shift in the number or nature of pronouns is undesirable, but this particular shift is established usage. Examples: When one is in power and things go his way in highly competitive elections, his first task is to fight his own mentality. Perhaps one has gone to the university where he has been given the wrong orientation that his degree is an opportunity to reach for the skies just like that. One could be said to hate himself if he lacks self–confidence in his abilities.

Every user of the language, particularly every journalist or communicator, must keep abreast of the current changes—the dynamics—in the language.

“Even a child in this nation knows that the police derives (derive) its (their) enabling and operational authority from the dictates of the Centre….” The paper’s Metro Section institutionalized this same lexical bondage in one of its headlines: “In Kano, Police allegedly shoots (sic) tanker driver over bribe” Its Editorial was equally not left out in this particular police howler: “Nigerians would no doubt be happier to hear from the Nigerian Police what it is (they are) doing to enhance its (their) capacity….”

“The ban on tinted glasses is even more reprehensible because the security benefits it can deliver is (are) far from certain.”


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