Each Other’s Throat
VANGUARD Front Page Banner of December 5 welcomes us today: “Tinubu, Atiku at each other’s throats (throat)” Both of them have just one throat each! According to the Book of Proverbs (12 v 1), whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid. On this note, you are welcome to this week’s contribution. For me, I treasure other language columnists and cherish the candour of those who critique my own work. There is no perfection in the business of public communication, yet we have to keep striving after purism.
Our serial errors this week are from The Guardian of November 16: “Even when members of the Special Task Force (STF) came to restore order at the venue….” Conscience, Nurtured by Truth: restore order to (not at) the venue….
“Ekiti CAN members protest over Benue killings” The Flagship (is it still?) of journalism in Nigeria should know that ‘protest’ takes ‘about’, ‘against’ or ‘at’; not ‘over’. Even these are optional.
“In Nigeria, if you loose, you call a press conference telling the world the judge does not like your face or is biased and so on.” Just lose. “Nigeria’s first private refinery takes-off soon” Phrasal verbs abhor hyphenation.
“Every one of us has a part to play as electorates because this is the only country we have.” Democracy for Justice: ‘electorate’ is a collective that does not need any inflection. A rewrite: Every one of us has a part to play as a member of the electorate or as an elector (or still, all of us have a part to play as the electorate). Perhaps, with time, the usage would register.
The Guardian Opinion Pages of November 16 splashed five undemocratic lines: “… good governance in a continent where the use of impunity, unfortunately, has become an instrument of democratic governance.” Tunisia’s changing times: on a continent. “Like (As) I have always said….” “…calling to question the forced involve- ment of Nigeria in the second world war.” At a time like this: World War II.
“It was this situation that heightened the political condition in the country that culminated into….” ‘Culminate’ takes ‘in’.
“London was actually constantly under siege until he was eventually extradited back to Nigeria….” The Guardian is not on trial, but let us delete ‘back’ from the extract for all parties’ collective grammatical sanity.
From the preceding diseased headline to this juvenile slipshodness: “Doctors suspend stike in Kaduna, Ebonyi” Even the computer underscored this strike carelessness from the same page as above! Do we still have editorial bastions (proofreaders) this time round? Remember: not ‘this time around’, which is an American expression!
As an aside, I recollect my foundational entry into journalism on March 14, 1983, as a proof-reader in the heyday of Daily Times! This cutting of teeth on reading and writing underpins whatever modest professional attainments I have reached today and the concomitant currency of my career profile. The 1983 proofreading class of fond memories comprised Kenneth Chioma Ugbechie, Isaac Hope Anumihe, Tony Ikhuenitiju (now Olumuyiwa) and Olaosun Okalanwon under the head readership of Mr. Abu Olarenwaju, a detribalized Nigerian and an urbane gentleman.
Lastly from THE PUNCH under ‘crossexamination’ after my historical intervention: “The facility will result in improved security profile of the Internet traffic and save the nation of the embarrassment of….” Info-tech: save the nation the embarrassment of….
“The PDP last Thursday held its special national convention to elect the party’s presidential candidate in the general elections next February.” Cover Story: February 2017 (last April); February 2018 (this February) and February 2019 (next February). Any appeal?
“Renowned filmmakers will converge in (on) Nigeria next week for….”
“Voice of the Electorate (V.O.T.E) congratulates PDP delegates nationwide for (on/ upon) defining history….” (Sacredness of advertisement copies notwithstanding)!
THE PUNCH OPINION of November 10, 2018, circulated two goofs: “Politically, experts in IT advocated for the use of e-voting system….” Once again, ‘advocate’ when used as a verb does not admit ‘for’.
“There will be what I call enriched mobile communication experience come 2019 through mobile money….” ICT development: experience in 2019.
“…today’s presidential primary may be riddled with so much (many) underhand deals and sharp practices.” What is the difference between ‘underhand deals’ and ‘sharp practices’? The latter should subsume the former! An aside: ‘much’ instead of ‘many’?
“In doing so (a coma) some of the government’s supporters may certainly have overstepped the bound of propriety….” From the other side: the bounds of propriety.
“Reactions to this position have been pouring in, and it’s highly elating that most share same position.” This way: most share the same position.
“Majority of Nigerians are of the opinion that a country roundly blessed has no business tottering at the brink of disintegration and collapse.” A/the majority of Nigerians….
“NURTW boss commends members over (for) Lagos LG elections”
The next infraction is from the Editorial of the above edition: “As we have (had) noted in previous editorials….”
“ICT centre for school pupils” (Source: as above) I believe we should do away with ‘school’ here because it is implied—just as it would be wrong to say ‘school students’. I admit that ‘pupilage’ and ‘studentship’ can, by extrapolation, apply to other spheres of life, but the scholastic context here is clear.
“All glory be to God for given (giving) us opportunities.”
“…parents of the graduating students, pressmen (journalists), and other invitees (guests, preferably).”
“The next Parent-Teachers Association meeting comes up on….” Get it right: ParentTeacher Association
“All materials that are contrabands (contraband) will not only be seized but appropriate (would it have been ‘inappropriate’?) sanctions will be administered on (to) the erring student.”
Finally from ‘Up Grams’, founded June 6, 1859: “On (In) the same vein….” Up School, Up Boys! If this citadel claims to be the oldest and the best, grammatical solecisms in its publications for public consumption should be an anathema.
DAILY SUN of November 26 committed lexical crimes: “68-year-old man, 2 others arraigned over (on) murder of okada rider”
“Lagos serves owners of illegal structures 48 hours (hours’) notice” (Source: as above)
“…the greatness of our country are (is) a combination of….”
“Chairman of Govs (Govs’) Forum leads delegation, parley holds today”
“Former governor of Abia State and top chieftain (and a chieftain) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, said he has (had) been vindicated by the recent visit of the APC…to President Muhammadu Buhari in London.”
“FG flags-off (sic) (starts) first modular refineries next month—Presidency” First, phrasal verbs abhor hyphenation.
‘Flag off’ is one of the sporting terminologies used during a competition like motor/ motorbike/bike racing. Overtime, some Nigerians have misapplied it to the ‘commencement’ of virtually everything.
“Osun State, on the other hand, has its own wholly state-owned university at Oshogbo, together with other tertiary institutions which do not suffer the neglect which appear (appears) presently (this is otiose) reserved for LAUTECH.”
“It, indeed, shows how lowly we take matters of education which ordinarily should be the solid building block for our national development.” Yank off ‘solid’ from the extract because a building block is a wall made of concrete blocks, which is confirmatory of solidity.