THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER, of October 28 welcomes us to this week’s edition of our language series with schoolboy blunders that ring true: “We must demand for better protection for these hapless Nigerians at Muna Garage.” Delete the first ‘for’ lest we agonize!
“I don’t just have fans like you do movie (a movie) and your movie don’t (doesn’t) cut across like you are doing movie and people just know you only in Nigeria.” This extract is a little bit clumsy.
“New dawn for Nigeria (Nigerian) tourism”
Finally from THISDAY Back Page missile: “A man who is fixated on blaming each and every mistake of this government on the PDP has certainly run out of ideas, and must even have lost the capacity for rational thinking. The APC-led government should to (sic) reevaluate the inclusion of the likes (like) of Garba Shehu in this administration.”—The Peoples Democratic Party calling on President Buhari to send his Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, for psychiatric evaluation.
“Buhari: North has seven ministers of states (state)” (THISDAY Front Page, October 14)
“What’s a six letter (six-letter) word for ‘free’?” (Full-page advertisement by Diamond, Your Bank, THISDAY, October 14)
“Stopping children from watching TV can result to (in) blindness—Optometrists”
“Okada union laments govt (govt.) encroachment in (on/upon/into) fees collection”
Lest we forget, CELEBRATER or Celebrator is reserved for someone having a good time while “celebrant” is reserved for someone who conducts a religious rite. If “celebrator” becomes overworked/overused or becomes obsolete, then “celebrater”, the original word, will take over (Look it up in The New International Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary of The English Language, page 214 and The Associated Press STYLEBOOK, page 36).
“Inquire” is the preferred spelling, NOT “enquire” and “inquiry” is preferred to “enquiry” (DICTIONARY OF USAGE, page 91). Besides, in American English, the general preference is to use “inquiry” (GOOD WORD GUIDE, page 99). The debate continues.
“But in the welter of these realignment of forces…” Re-thinking development: this realignment of forces.
VANGUARD of August 28 circulated three goofs: “The fear along the room and corridor (corridors) of power of a sovereign national conference.…”
“It is not in doubt that most of the commuters in the luxurious (luxury) buses that ply.…”
“…Aba traders constitute a large proportion of the passengers on commercial aircrafts (aircraft) that fly….”
“Major reorganization of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), which may lead to mass retirement and sack of its men and officers, now looms.” Get it right: a major reorganization or major reorganizations, as context demands.
“One of the most outrageous abuses occurred.…” Spelling in the lurch: occur, occurrence, occurred.
“I do not buy the argument that the advent of electronic mails and network computers have rendered postal services absolute.” Not yet time for structural proximity: the advent of electronic mails and network computers has (not have).
“In doing this, however, he must be faithful to the mandate of the ECOWAS Heads of Government under whose platform he operates.” Agenda: on (not under) whose platform he operates
“As Nigerian editors converge in (on) Katsina for their 10th Annual Meeting.…”
“A government white paper on the demonstration….” Sheer abuse of words! ‘White paper’ is a report issued by Government to give information. Let’s respect words. After all, reporting is all about telegraphic brevity.
“UNN students union honour vice chancellor” What is happening? Sub-editors of these days show traces of illiteracy! This way: UNN students’ union honours VC
“The fact that some people eat food that does nothing for their physical well-being put them in the class of the poor.” The fact…puts.
“The richer nations who (sic) have more than enough should in this moment of great need and expectation by the poor masses (the masses are basically poor) be their brothers’ keepers.” Standard sociolinguistics: ‘brother’s keeper’—whether one or more.
“Any further discourse on it, some might say, amounts to nothing but over-flogging a dad horse.” You flog, not over-flog, a dead horse, talking idiomatically.
“Like few (a few in this context) years ago, a life cow was allegedly buried….” ‘Life cow’ in place of ‘live cow’ portrays sub-literacy.
“Opponents of private universities claim that they will aggravate the unemployment problem in the country.” ‘Unemployment’ is certainly a problem—so why compound it by adding another ‘problem’?
“Denmark has just played an historic role in….” ‘An historic role’ is the type of expression Ndaeyo Uko calls Elizabethan English! Current syntactic trend: ‘a historic…’
“One of the enduring concerns at the workshop concerned the role and orientation of the military with regards to our democratic aspirations.” Received English: ‘as regards’ or ‘with regard to’