Between ‘Onset’ and ‘Outset’

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SATURDAY EXPRESSION

With Ebere Wabara; ewabara@yahoo.com, 08055001948

“LET’S not point fingers over the issue…..” (Classic 97.3 FM Newspaper Review and Analysis, 7-730 a.m., June 28, 2017) Fixed expression; point the finger
“Like (As) I said earlier….” (Source: as above)
“The seven bank chief executives currently being investigated by the EFCC for their alleged racketeering roles in the current pension fund scam have been placed under security watch to forestall them escaping outside the country.” A rewrite to save time and space: The seven bank chief executives being investigated by the EFCC for their alleged racketeering roles in the current pension fund scam have been placed under security watch to forestall their escape from the country. The copious blunders in the extract remind me of inflectional Middle English!
“Assailant, vigilante member die in gun duel” (DAILY INDEPENDENT, June 7) Get it right: vigilance member. Alternatively: Assailant, vigilante die in gun duel.
“INEC official arrested over ‘missing’ ballot papers” (THE NATION, June 7) Truth in defence of freedom: ‘arrest’ takes ‘for’—not ‘over’!
“Woman arrested with AK-47, 148 live ammunitions” (THISDAY, June 7) The last word in the extract is uncountable. The Old English (Anglo-Saxon) period is gone!
“This will remove the possibility of passing the bulk (buck)” (THE PUNCH, June 7) No pedestrian English.
“The organized private sector took the bull by the horn recently….” For a better society: take the bull by the horns.
“Britain handed over the reigns of power to the politicians.” (THE GUARDIAN, June 7) Modern English: reins of government.
“One even wonders why government did not adopt that method from the onset (outset).” (Vanguard, June 7)
“This is true given the restricted and guarded comments from those who have been priviledged to view the clips.” (Leadership, June 4) Spellings count: privileged.
“Government needs to put (get) its acts together and prosecute the kidnappers.” (Vanguard, June 4) My own comment: get its act (not acts) together.
“Vigilante group accused of murder“ Get it right: vigilance group.
“Apart from all these, the debt recovery (a hyphen confirms class) level of the banks have not been any issue of interest to NDIC.” (THISDAY, June 7) Question CBN has to answer, debt recovery has (not have).
“It is believed in some quarters that the Nigerian Police has….” (THE NATION, June 2) Get it right: the Nigerian Police have.

The next five blunders are from Daily Trust of June 2: “And the leaders, being new on the saddle of political leadership (another comma) were.…” The challenges of good grammar: in the saddle.
“Efforts by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his group to remove Akintola from office was (were) fiercely resisted.” Why the discord?
“As a new democracy, there was (were) bound to be problems.”
“In the course of the crisis, Awo and some of his lieutenants were arrested and charged for (with)….”
“The ethnic colouration of the coup led to a counter coup (a hyphen) in July 1966.” Spell-check: coloration.
“Have the previous exercises impacted meaningfully on the lives (life) of the average Nigerian?”
“This could not have been possible if they had been outrightly liquidated.” (Source: as above) ‘Outrightly’ is a Nigerian creation! The right word ‘outright’ functions as an adverb and an adjective. Therefore, it does not require any inflexion. In other words: This could not have been possible if they had been liquidated outright. Even at that, ‘liquidation’ does not need any qualification because of its causative finality. So, if they had been liquidated.
‘Reopening’ abhors hyphenation. It is not automatic that any word with a prefix must go with a hyphen, except where there is a vowel replication. For instance: re-entry, but readmit, readjust, etcetera.
“Legislators, oil chiefs parley on industry enhancing issues” (DAILY SUN, June 2) Imagine the classical excellence a hyphen between ‘industry’ and ‘enhancing’ would have conferred on the headline.
“I said these are (were) beggars and I told my wife I better (I had better) get money ready for them.” (DAILY INDEPENDENT, June 2)
“The remains of the Ovie, sources in the town revealed, was (were) later tied….”
“And just last Friday, it was reported that the police has (had) arrested the….” (THE GUARDIAN, June 2)
“The meetings were about some developments alright….” (THE PUNCH, June 2) ‘Alright’ (non-standard) is unacceptable for ‘all right’ in formal settings.
“My suggestion, therefore, is that our National Assembly members should tow (toe) the line of reason.” (THE PUNCH, June 2)
“This is because of the numerous restraints, both social and economical, which is (are) associated with the day to day (day-to-day) life of a convict.”
”…especially those public officers who remain suspect with regards (regard) to their qualifications and credibility to hold public offices.” (Nigerian Tribune, June 2) Alternatively, as regards their qualifications….
“The nation has (had) in the past pardoned and forgiven it’s (sic) past leaders and
“Infact (In fact) every (all) loving parents….” Alternatively, each loving parent
“In the agricultural sector, the two countries can learn a lot from one another (each other).” (Nigerian Tribune, June 3)
“Such citizens had since been integrated back (reintegrated) into the system.” (Source: as above)
“A recent summit in Kaduna on education in the northern states provided the appropriate forum to revisit, once again….” (THE PUNCH, June 2) ‘Revisit’ cannot co-function with ‘again’.
“Gone are the days when government can (could) go it alone.” (THE GUARDIAN, June 2).