THE NATION of May 2 welcomes us to this edition with just two gaffes: “Fed Govt reads riot act to airlines” Stock expression, headline dictates of journalism notwithstanding: the riot act

“As Nigeria celebrates its 53rd independence anniversary, its education sector lays (lies) prostrate.”

   THE NATION of May 8 goofed twice: “Recently in Washington DC…encounters (encountered) her in this all-revealing interview.”

“I know that something is wrong between me and my girlfriend” Romance: my girlfriend and me (as the object), but subjective form: My girlfriend and I—not ‘me and my girlfriend’ or ‘I and my girlfriend’!

THISDAY of May 13 dealt crudely with the English language: “In the first quarter of this year, that is between January to (and) March 2013….” Or from January to March. But, hold on: who does not know that the first quarter of any year refers to January, February and March? Does the publication think that its readers are daft? This is too boyish, loose and uneducated for a standard newspaper!

“Local refineries are also springing up with all the pollution that come (comes) with the activities.”

“…to serve as a deterrent to other people who plan to stealing (steal) our oil.”

Lastly from THISDAY under review: “It is therefore time that the authorities took (take) serious measures against these criminals.” Alternatively: high time…took. Got the point?

Next is THISDAY POLITICS/MONDAY DISCOURSE: “…no other parts (part) of the country is completely safe.”

“Libyan anti-Gaddafi gunmen lift siege of (to) ministries”

“ECOWAS condoles Nigeria (condoles with Nigeria) on death of two pilots”

THE GUARDIAN of May 14 is the next newspaper on our radar: “For long, Nigeria and US have shared strong partnership in security cooperation except for period (the period) during the regime of late (the late) Gen. Sani Abacha when the ties were strained.”

From the Back Page of the preceding medium come these school-boy howlers: “There should be no preferential treatment for foreign trained (foreign-trained) graduates as what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.” Conscience, Nurtured by Truth: what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. 

Did you know that ‘big brother’—usually misapplied in Nigeria—means a sinister organization, a bully or dictator? 

Last Wednesday’s edition of this medium goofed on three occasions: “…for the burial of late (the late) Prof. Chinua Achebe.”

“Chairman of South East Governor’s (Governors’) Forum….”

“Litigations delay claims settlements—NDIC” Get it right: ‘litigation,’ like ‘remuneration,’ is uncountable.

The following three observations were taken from Vanguard of May 5: “…whose looks belly (belie) her age.”

“When they do well, we praise them but if they ere (err), we march against them.”

Wrong: “If I was you”; Right: If I were you…. This is the subjunctive aspect of grammar. Wrong: “I wrote him”; Right: I wrote to him

Avoid circumlocutions: “despite the fact” (although); “owing to the fact” and “for the reason that” (as/because); “in addition to which” (and); (Source: Correct English by J. E. Metcalfe & C. Astle)

Related News

Daily Independent of May 16 circulated two infelicities: “…the amnesty deal has run into murky water (the murky waters)….”

“Pre-schoolers (Pre-scholars, you mean?) handling hi-tech with kids’ gloves” Education Today: kid gloves

Daily Trust of May 15 contributed the next three infractions: “Delta swears-in electoral commission for LG polls” Is it the commission or its members that were sworn in (take note of the phrasal verb)? Also note that ‘swearing-in’ is correct as a noun.

“Federation polls: Elected members walk out in protest” An example of half-literacy: ‘walk out’ demonstrates ‘protest,’ among other meanings. So, why the redundancy?

“Back to the second subject matter, white elephants projects dot the construction landscape of the nation.” (Leadership, May 9) This way: white elephants dot…away with ‘projects’!

“He described him as an examplary (exemplary) politician and enjoined others to emulate him.”

“Inspection at (on) the premises of the owners will go a long way in decongesting the ports.”

“Man arrested over wife’s death” The man was arrested for his wife’s death.

“Recently, the chairman of Parents/Teachers Association of Federal Government College….”  Education: parent-teacher association.

“Remember the police are under the control of the Lord of Aso Rock who received no less than thirty million naira, unsolicited, from the Anambra-born moneybag (moneybags) when he contested the presidential election in 1999”

“If the university authorities are interested in standards, what have they done about standards in (on) the main campuses?

“I’ve seen too many progressives turn cold turkey in the end in spite of their honest efforts at the onset (outset, in this context) to change the system.”

“The successful bidding process, award of GSM licences and eventual launching (launch) of the services of the operators in Nigeria give cause for celebration.”

“…he had to abandon the bicycle that we borrowed (lent) him for that purpose and made a hasty retreat to Jos.”

“Niger threatens to hands-off (hands off) sponsorship of pilgrims”

“A senator who muted (mooted) this idea had this to say…”

“…in their heydays (heyday) they never imagined the time would ever come….”

“The day after the panel’s first meeting with the un-amused president (a comma, please) one of the commission’s counsels….”  ‘Counsel’ is unchanged even in plural applications.

“From the foregoing, Japan seems to have learnt it’s (its) lessons from the atomic bomb episode.”

“…it did happen leaving immense tragedy and loss in (on) its trail.”

“And I am not just talking about the siege armed robbers have laid on (to) the home of virtually every Nigerian, high or low, rich or poor.”

“That was what I had at the back of my mind when I almost stopped my junior (younger) brother.”