MIND THAT ER­ROR

Sunday Observer - - FEATURES - ADIDI UYO

If you can find two or more er­rors in any of the two sen­tences that fol­low, then the sen­tence is a STOME. “Why not in­crease the bud­get for ed­u­ca­tion which is not even au­dited? If there is no money why is gov­ern­ment not com­ing out and say so and en­gage with the peo­ple of the coun­try?”

The two sen­tences­form the 20th para­graph of an opin­ion piece in the Times of Swazi­land, Fe­bru­ary 8, 2018. The ar­ti­cle was ti­tled, WHEN THERE IS NO WILL. If you comb the two sen­tences, you will find that the first sen­tence has one er­ror. That means that it is not a Sen­tence with Two Or More Er­rors, that is, STOME. But the sec­ond sen­tence is a STOME be­cause it has more than two er­rors.

The first mis­take in the sec­ond sen­tence is that of comma omis­sion. Af­ter the sub­or­di­nate clause which ends with the word, “money,” there should be a comma. The sec­ond mis­take is that of omis­sion of an oblig­a­tory word. The word “gov­ern­ment” should be pre­ceded by the ar­ti­cle, “the,” oth­er­wise known as a lim­it­ing ad­jec­tive in tra­di­tional gram­mar, or a de­ter­miner in struc­tural gram­mar.

The third in Sen­tence #2 is has to do with the word, “and,” and for want of bet­ter name, we may call, “and-it is.” That sounds like arthri­tis, doesn’t it?

That, as you know, is a dis­ease that causes pain and swelling in one or more joints of the body? Er­rors, need we say, er­rors are like dis­eases.

Rid­ing on the lighter side of life, since “and” is a con­junc­tion, shouldn’t we have named a mis­take that en­sues from it, “con­junc­tivi­tis”? That would be proper, I be­lieve; but it would not be as apt as “and-itis,” since this name cap­tures the very con­junc­tion that is source of the dis­ease in the sen­tence. Maybe we can re­serve con­junc­tivi­tis as a gen­eral name for all such er­rors that are caused by con­junc­tions.

Di­gres­sion over, the word “and” in the sen­tence­un­der our spot­light is lit­er­ally a swelling in the sen­tence which needs to be ex­cised. To cor­rect the three er­rors which we have spot­ted in sec­ond sen­tence, we may re­vise it thus: “If there is no money, why is the gov­ern­ment not com­ing out TO say so and en­gage with the peo­ple of the coun­try?”

Each of the fol­low­ing two sen­tences is a STOME. They are the open­ing para­graphs of the top story of the Swazi Ob­server, Fe­bru­ary 9, 2018 with the head­line, ‘DZODZO’, NKOSI IN TOP 130 WANTED SUS­PECTS ON IN­TER­POL. Sen­tence #1: “About 26 days af­ter the busi­ness­man and soc­cer ad­min­is­tra­tor Vic­tor Gamedze was gunned down

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