EXPRESSION

By Ebere Wabara, ewabara@yahoo.com, 08055001948

THE PUNCH of March 10 disseminated two infantile goofs: “Unknown gunmen kidnap varsity VC in A’Ibom” When will Nigerian journalists desist from using this cliché: “unknown gunmen”? Just say, ‘gunmen’! And this: “varsity VC”! My dear reader, how does it sound to your ears? A rewrite: Gunmen kidnap VC in Akwa Ibom
For the third time, let us welcome DStv, which offered two hollow blunders via its message scroll on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, to this column: “Dear subscribers, we are please to inform you that….” Enjoy this: I am pleased (take note) to inform you that reactions to this column are welcome.
“Kindly tune in for your viewing pleasure” Learn and relax: tune in to your viewing pleasure.

“Why spend 6 years for a 4 year course?” (Advertorial in THISDAY of March 9) Electioneering: 4-year course. Punctuation marks mean so much in communication, most especially when the issue is scholarship.
Vanguard of March 8 deserves a query for this slipshoddiness: “Apparently disturbed by the spate of armed robbery in Lagos State, the IGP….” Yellow card: spate of armed robberies.
The next farcical line is from DAILY CHAMPION of March 8: “…that over six million people in Nigeria have been affected by glaucoma, which is the second leading cause of blindness in the continent of Africa.” World Glaucoma Week: on the continent of Africa.
“To diffuse tension, Cottone says, discuss money and expectations up front (everything from paying rent to doing chores).” (THE GUARDIAN Homes & Property on Wednesday, March 28) There is a world of difference between ‘defuse’, which should apply here, and ‘diffuse’ (which means another thing entirely)!
“That confidence vote on Ohakim by Jonathan….” (DAILY CHAMPION Headline, March 4) Get it right: confidence vote in Ohakim.
“April Polls: We won’t use lethal weapons, says Police” (Vanguard Headline, March 4) Towards a better life for the people: say Police.
“Baba Ijesha in fatal accident” (Source: as above) Now the intro: “Lanre Omiyinka (a comma) popularly known as Baba Ijesha (another comma) few (a few) hours ago escaped death when he had an accident on his way to Abeokuta.” Mixed grill: The actor was involved in a ghastly accident.

“Antidote for Disfigured Emotions” (THE GUARDIAN Headline, March 4) Antidote to solecisms: pursuit after perfection.
“Customs seize smuggled vehicles with Buhari licence plates” (Leadership Headline, March 4) I do not understand this subject-verb disagreement (S-VD) which always affects the Nigerian Customs Service (Customs for short). Customs seizes…and number-plates (not licence plates).
“He saw no difficulty in re-establishing cordial relations again.” (THE PUNCH, March 9) Millennium wisdom: delete the last word in the extract.
“The corrupt politician was received from Kirikiri Maximum Prisons with celebration, pomp and pageantry.” Get it right: pomp and ceremony, pomp and circumstance or just pomp.
“Yet these were the heydays of the Cold War but he remained fixed to his ideas, never intimidated by the West nor frightened by the East.” Remembering Julius Nyerere: heyday (uncountable).
Next of March 9 played politics with the English language on two occasions: “He says he was merely fulfilling a promise he made during his electioneering campaigns.” Zamfara of yore: get a good dictionary and thereafter yank off ‘campaigns’, which is encapsulated in ‘electioneering’.
“…the fire can, and often does, turn into a mighty conflagration capable of destroying and consuming all that it meets on the way”. You can now see why we need standard reference books: is there a small conflagration? This inexplicable abuse of words must stop.
“His reasons bordered on a personal aversion for (to) charlantry” (THE NATION, March 9)
“…their counsels and the judge so that people are not….” This way: ‘counsel’ is uncountable.
“What is (are) the police doing to investigate the case?”
“Who is paying the piper, dictating (calling) the tunes of the graffiti on the walls (sic)?”
“Under normal circumstances, either of these two men can represent….” (Vanguard, March 9) By the way: either cannot imply any other thing beyond ‘two’. So, avoid lexical blackmail.
“We need people of unalloyed intergrity in positions of trust.” Spell-check: integrity.
“Abia State has remained one splitted (split) entity that cannot move forward.”
“Though this dichotomy has endured for quite sometime now….” Politics today: some time (distinct from sometime).
“The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have persistently called attention to….” The union…has (not have).
“If after having being duely (duly) informed of.…”
“True, the treatment meted to (meted out to) detainees and ex-convicts, especially politicians like the recently released ‘Lagos boy’, depends, to a great extent, on the financial or social status of the prisoner.”
“If what the campaigners are doing is allowed to succeed, precedence (a precedent) would have been set.”
“…he had always shy (shied) away from politics but always manage (managed) to find himself in politics.”

“I think us poor Nigerians that only has (have) the rough edged (a hyphen) stick to hold at times like this….” Task forces as solution: a time like this or at times like these.
THE GUARDIAN of March 9 offered two unpardonable and extremely vexatious gaffes. “To round up the visit was the trip to the New Place, the site of the house where Shakespeare died. “ Get it right: round off (not round up).
”…the production was heavily spiced with new innovations which, however, still retained its original flavours.” ‘New innovations’ sounds illogical. An innovation cannot be old, relatively speaking. What do you think?
“What was the platform in which the cold war….” The platform on which the cold war.…
“Lack of towing vehicles hinder (hinders) FRSC operations”