From First Bank comes the first schoolboy howler today: “Baking, confectionaries and catering” (Full-page advertisement, THISDAY, March 11) Readers first on N3m: confectionery (note the correct spelling) is uncountable.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

“We congratulate our jolly good friend…on this joyous occassion of your 60th Birthday.” Always spell-check: occasion

“Your impact in (on) business, politics and philantrophy (philanthropy) has been inspirational.”

“…said the attack is (was) a reminder of the sufferings faced by residents in the 13 years of armed conflict in Nigeria’s North-east.” (THISDAY Front Page, March 11)

“However, all tiers of government must begin to invest enough funds into (in) the health sector, especially at the primary care level.”

“The successful execution of the multi-billion project, amongst (among) the many other life-changing projects by the Lagos State Government….” I take off my hat to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his gargantuan and exquisite accomplishments in the country’s Centre of Excellence.

“We promised a government that will execute people-centred projects….” All policies—whether good or bad—are people-centred or oriented. So, let us leave out that crap in our communication—politicians are most guilty of this lexical tragedy.

“NPA MD…felicitates with President-elect Tinubu” Get it right: NPA MD felicitates Tinubu—there are no titles in headline casting and ‘felicitate’ does not admit ‘with’

“Coalition of CSOs protest (protests), demand (demands) INEC chairman’s sack”

“She says that (otiose) in Africa, about $30 billion is lost due to the collective failure to (at) addressing hearing loss adequately.”

We welcome the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) to this column once more after a long sabbatical: “National Council of States (State) meets” (NTA News Headline Scroll, March 13)

DAILY INDEPENDENT of March 14 leads the hall of infamy this week again with almost innumerable blunders in most of its major sections: “Kanu calls for revocation of all oil blocs” Playing politics with grammar: oil blocks!

“He, therefore, called on the members of the intelligentsia class in the region….” Instead of the verbosity of ‘the members of the intelligentsia class’, why not simply say ‘the intelligentsia’. Word economy is integral to collocation.

“Recently (a comma) the army uncovered a bomb making (bomb-making) factory at Kawo, a suburb of Kaduna, few (a few) metres away from (to) the Kaduna Army Headquarters that was….”

“A cache of arms and ammunitions, including, (sic) improvised devices (device) detonators (IEDs) and detonators was seized.” ‘Ammunition’ is uncountable.

“In the same state, unknown terrorists launched grenades into (on) a mosque….”

“In Kano, too, unknown gunmen shot dead a commander of Nigerian Mobile Police Force….” If you do not know the gunmen, just spare readers the agony of faddish ‘unknown gunmen’ and simply write terrorists or gunmen. Very soon, we would have ‘unknown armed robbers/kidnappers’!

Vanguard of March 14 goofed: “…it often boomerangs when politicians foist mediocres on universities as VCs.” All the facts, all the sides: mediocrities or mediocrists (not mediocre, which is mostly used as an adjective).

“Results cancellation: WAEC summersaults, uploads results three years after…” The examination body made a volte face—and not a somersault, please!

“Government must effectively deploy the USPREP to subsidise (subsidize) broadband services roll-out to (in) the nooks and crannies of the country….”

The final entry from Vanguard under review: “Bayelsa’s girl-child school delays for lack of land” Why not ‘Land delays Bayelsa girl-child school’?   

“It is getting quite chilly out there that our womenfolk abandon the dailies and stick to soft-sell magazines (the ones that are derogatorily referred to as ‘junks’).”  The last word is uncountable.

“In democracies, the resources of the nation belong to individual citizens who may join forces by pooling capital together to sponsor ventures.”  In the interest of conciseness, delete ‘together’.

“Nigerian ladies have taken Europe by storm with their bizzare (bizarre) sexcapade (sic)….”

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“For a fee, they sleep with all manners (manner) of men and animals and do other untoward things.”

‘…the so-called Abuja loots, the missing N40 billion from the ETF and so on.”  ‘Loot’ is non-count.

“The last but not the least….” Get it right: The last but not least (a phrase that has become archival, a cliché).

“Providing them loans after training and embarking on infrastructure projects.”  This way: infrastructural projects.

“Won’t he be tempted to dip hand into the agency’s coffer (coffers) to oil his political machine?”

“…with its entire attendant hostilities meted on (meted out to) both sides of the divides (divide), Nigeria and Biafra.”

“…those who wished to view this apparently rare phenomenon from the skies and willing to pay through their noses for such rare excursions.”  Fixed expression: pay through the nose (not their noses).

“Whereas the state government may have preferred the committee treaded softly on some of the revelations….” For pupils only: tread, trod and trodden.

“Defence correspondent…was one of those who hiked rides in the air force plane that took….” No bone-chilling expression (hike rides?).  Get it right: hitch or hitch-hike.

“A military administration soon took over the reins of power through a most bloody putsch.”  This way: reins of government. There is a distinction between power and government—not just in political lexicon, but English language etymology, too.

“Somehow the heart is gladdened that man has taken the bull by the horn.”  Fixed expression: take the bull by the horns.

“Africans are known for being their brothers’ keepers with their extended family system”.  Irrespective of plurality: brother’s keeper (stock expression)

“It was an eight-hour journey; we got to Abuja at about 7.00.a.m.”  Avoid vagueness: either at 7 or about 7 a.m. (depending on exactitude).  Employing both phrases in one breath smacks of confusion and sub-literacy!

“There are radio sets in the rooms quite alright….” Alright’ is an unacceptable spelling for ‘all right’.

“Another thing that caught my attention is (was) the number of persons milling around the hotel’s ground floor.”

“The regional police was (were) sometimes deployed as tribal forces, to undermine the welfare and economic progress of non-indigenes.”

“I asked an (a) European why should these people attract people’s sympathy.”

“According to him, those beggars are only asking from me and you their own portion of our collective wealth.”  Syntactic orderliness demands that you place self last: you and me (not me and you).

“He retorted back to me….” Remove ‘back’ and move on. 

“…they all failed because they were directed to (at) the poor masses.” Do we have rich masses?

“I think the governor and his team of advisers dithered too long on a weighty matter of this nature, knowing fully (full) well that.…”

“They poured venom on anyone who dared to raise eyebrow….”  No polemics: raise eyebrows.

“…an investigative journalist who blew the lead (lid) off the multinational shaddy (shady) deal at….”

“Those of us who used to hold the party at (in) high esteem thought the very moment the allegations came into the open….”