Round Off, Round Up Mix-up



By Ebere Wabara;, 08055001948

DAILY CHAMPION of December 30 offered its readers the following blunders: “It took a de Gaul to end the senseless killings and France acquiescing to the self-rule agitation of Algerians.” Away from anarchy: acquiescing in (not to).

“There will be lots of entertainment, music, a special buffet and the show will be rounded up with a Grand Ball”.  The revelry will be rounded off with a grand ball.

“In a bid to escape with their booties with (in—not with) a helicopter gunship….” I am opposed to misadventures in grammar: ‘booty’ is uncountable.

“We’d noticed the professor was not too comfortable standing under the blazing sun, but we thought she would nerve it through.” Get it right: standing/sitting in the blazing sun. ‘Under the sun’ means ‘anywhere in the world’

  THE GUARDIAN on Sunday of March 25 presented four infelicities: “And then they demanded for money, at gunpoint. “ Gently remove ‘for’ to avoid any ‘accidental discharge’!

“…the two countries have since been understudying one another’s political system.” Two countries: each other; three or more countries: one another.

“The Nigeria Police has also assisted in the training of Sierra Leone (sic) police and detectives. “ Always: police (collective noun) have.

Vanguard of December 30 did not conform to journalistic excellence: “When a dupe in the regalia of politics tickles himself and laughs hilariously to fool his un-bemused electorate….”  The person who is duped is the dupe, while the perpetrator is the duper and the act referred to as dupery.  The English language abhors un-educated familiarity with words, their meanings and applications.  Persistent use of wrong expressions cannot confer acceptability on them.

“Nobody can at this stage doubt the ability of the administration to take serious and atimes painful decisions.” Leadership in Nigeria at times (not atimes) smacks of non-seriousness.

THISDAY of December 31 went down with a bazaar of improprieties: “In his six-page address paying glowing tribute (tributes) and homage to late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.” The late Chief Obafemi Awolowo….

“People subject themselves to flogging and beating, and all manners of dehumanization in the name of healing.” Thoughts on grammar: all manner of.

“There have been indications for sometime that…. “Time for distinction between ‘some time’ (which applies here) and ‘sometime’.

“Furthermore, the conduct of officials and the general logistics support for that election were unprecedented in the annals of our nation’s history.”  ‘Annals of history’ is tautological. And this: logistic or logistical support.

“Despite the Moslem-Moslem ticket which he and his vice-presidential candidate held, majority of Christians across the country still rallied in their favour.” No protest: a majority of Christians.

“Medical and scientific researchers have shown that offsprings of drug addicts suffer mental deficiency.”  ‘Offspring‘ is uncountable.

“Garbage ought to be disposed off as regularly as possible because they can constitute a serious nuisance to the public.” Fixed expression: dispose of.

‘The eventual failure of many of such drugs have not discouraged fresh attempts at inventing more effective ones.” The battle against discord continues: The failure…of drugs has (not have). By the way, we cannot be talking of more effectiveness in the same breath with failure. We are still in the realm of effectiveness, contextually.

“The heavy downpour during the week has made the price of perishable commodities in the market to come down due to low patronage by consumers.” ‘Downpour’ does not require amplification (heavy) because of magnitude inherence.  And ‘patronage’ is usually by consumers.  So, ‘by consumers’ is otiose.

“…because they are not entirely immuned from the adverse consequences of pervasive poverty in third world nations.”  Get it right: immune (not immuned) from.

“…pay them their retirement benefits as and when due.”  Simple: when due.  “As and when due” indicates language poverty.

“UN statistics on fertility in sub-Saharan Africa has indicated.…” Statistics have (not has) except as a discipline (course).

“These are the major factors but there is a final secret with regards to.…” No secrecy: as regards or with regard to.

“Students of sports history remember that Morocco played three matches and lost them all, conceeding six goals in the process”.  Language scholars endorse these: concede, conceded and conceding.

“Last week Monday’s press briefing by the Minister….” Functional communication: Last Monday’s press briefing….

“Extremism had also brought about the death of 37 left-wing intellectuals when the hotel in which they were holding a conference in the central town of Sivas was touched on December 2.” Love of grammar: torched (not touched).

“Some news media have been known to have lent themselves unwittingly into the hands of hack writers by not doing a thorough investigation of the stories they publish.” Literate style: lent themselves to (not into).

“Jakande as governor of Lagos State warmed his way into the hearts of Lagosians with a single-minded pursuit of his housing programme.” LKJ wormed (never warmed!) his way into the hearts of Lagosians.

Let us welcome last week’s edition of this medium which contained a few errors and thereafter a cocktail of nondescript infelicities from the mass media: “Baring few skirmishes which regrettably led to the death of four persons….” An anatomy of the season of linguistic violence: there is a world of distinction between ‘a few’ (which correctly applies here) and ‘few’, which connotatively suggests an expectation of more skirmishes—except if the writer has a weird denotative inclination towards potentialities for more skirmishes! Otherwise, the extract is lexically absurd because of his regret.    

“Just imagine a young man that rounded up his apprenticeship as a welder.”  This is an indication of the current malaise in scholarship: a situation where a lecturer cannot distinguish between phrasal verbs, ‘round up’ and ‘round off’ (which applies here).

“Will anybody please let us know which country became a super-power by allowing its best brains to roam about the world?”  ‘Roam’ encompasses ‘about’.