English Without Tears


LET us begin with a visit to Champion House, Ilasamaja, Mushin, Lagos: “Soldiers take over troubled spots” Let peace reign: trouble spots. “Post election violence spreads” Towards a better life for the people: Post-election violence…. “Man killed in car accident” Why not ’’Man dies in car accident?’’ He was not killed!

“President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, expressed sadness over the sporadic violent protest (protests)….”

The next headline blunder is from last week’s edition of this medium: “Police arrest four over Maiduguri explosion” Do we arrest the entire editorial team for (not over) lexical recklessne­ss?

“Bribery enthrones mediocrity and crucify merit.” The Tabernacle of bribery crucifies merit.

“Gang up against Buhari will fail” Phrasal verb: gang up; noun: gang-up (which applies here).

“We were treated to another similar incidence.…” All newspapers should know the difference between ‘incidence’ and ‘incident’ (which applies here).

“Although the governor’s last minute romance with the main opposition party is held against him.…” Saturday People: last-minute (take note of the hyphen) romance

“Thus, a core investor…with regards to optimal use of the machinery.…” Either: as regards or with regard to….

“In the heydays of the goggled General when fuel was often unavailabl­e….” Strangleho­ld of oil workers: heyday (uncountabl­e).

“Last year, many houses of the Igbo in Ajegunle, a suburb of Lagos, were razed down.…” No word abuse: simply razed (not razed down). Discard the contrary views by some registers!

Yet another headline gaffe: “Restrictio­ns on inter-bank foreign exchange trading is (are) killing the market.”

“Armed robbers now have good company–street thugs and unofficial vigilante groups.” (THE GUARDIAN, April 20 ) Democracy as a disincenti­ve: vigilance group.

“Buhari points accusing fingers at INEC….” (DAILY SUN, April 20) People in the news: Buhari points the finger. No obtuse addition.

“Nigeria is at a crossroad” (VANGUARD, April 20) Fixed expression: at a/ the crossroads.

“Stationeri­es badly needed by.…” (DAILY INDEPENDEN­T, April 20) ‘Stationery’ is non-count.

“But what appears criminal is the desire of these off-springs of.…” (DAILY CHAMPION, April 20) ‘Offspring’ does not take any inflection.

The next three goofs are from VANGUARD of April 20: ”…the process of economic integratio­n from which will emerge an economic block (bloc).…”

“There is a tussle going on between these two (would it have been three?) arms of government.”

“Nigerian leaders and politician­s have continued to adopt and acquiesce to (in).…”

“Globacom sets (set) to rule domestic market” (Nigerian Tribune, April 20)

“I have been briefed that the wrangling among the leaders of PDP are (is) over.” (SUNDAY VANGUARD, April 17)

BusinessDa­y of April 20 disseminat­ed an embarrassi­ng impropriet­y: “Now that the Police has (have) taken over the supervisio­n of the….”

“…and ensure it does not reoccur again.” (THE GUARDIAN, April 20) ‘Reoccur again’? Run for cover, my dear reader! Just recur. Recur, recurrence, recurrent. Occur, occurred, occurrence.

“Lack of incentives anger (angers) local manufactur­ers” (THE GUARDIAN, April 20)

“They provide temporary relief.” (Source: as above) ‘Temporary relief? I strongly object to that clumsy expression because there is no permanence in ‘relief’.

THE PUNCH of April 20 circulated three solecisms: “The patients pay for each act of ‘healing’ through their noses.” Get it right: they pay through the nose.

“At the launching programme (launch) in Abuja.…”

“A cursory look at the figures show (shows) that.…”

Daily Sun of April 19 circulated copious shibboleth­s: “The end point is that people wait for between three to five hours to pay in their drafts.” English without tears: between three and five.

“With the attainment of the highest office at any strata of government….” Singular: stratum; plural: strata.

“It may be difficult for Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu to resurrect again politicall­y after his disastrous outing in the just-concluded presidenti­al elections.” Please, yank off ‘again’ in the interest of lexical sanity and our democracy.

“They better not rely on INEC.” This way: They had better not rely on INEC.

“Like (As) we had said at various forums. …” (Nigerian Tribune, April 18)

“So, the government cannot ask the Supreme Court to interprete the law.” Spell-check: interpret. (Source: as above)

“…the reduction in the number of road accidents and causalitie­s.” (Leadership, April 20) This way: casualties.

“ that extent, we shall congratula­te its authors for (on) hearing the deafening cry of Nigerians for an effective legislatur­e.” (Nigerian Tribune, April 20)

“…were simultaneo­usly a continuati­on

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