Uncountable Nouns



By Ebere Wabara; ewabara@yahoo.com, 08055001948

THE NATION ON SUNDAY of May 20 displayed grammatical hypocrisy: “The president should call the group to order for double standards (standard) and flouting our laws”
“Rangers’ boss picks holes on 3SC” I also pick my own holes in (not on) this headline.
“TIME Magazine commends Nigeria over (for/on) containment”
“…was the outcome of the series of meeting (meetings)”
“…Assure (Assure Nigerians) Boko Haram will be defeated”
“The source said further that…are (were) now firmly in control of the military.”
“Lassa fever scare in Delta as FMC cordons-off (cordons off) emergency ward”
“…the population of the estate has increased considerable (considerably)”
Finally from THISDAY of March 20 under review: “Heat free (Heat-free) curls”

SATURDAY INDEPENDENT of March 19 circulated a potpourri of misapprehensions: “Buhari’s administration is been (being) sabotaged, says cleric”
“Irri community seeks for support” Yank off ‘for’
Wrong: electioneering campaign; Right: electioneering or campaign
“Siasia clamours for Nigerians (Nigerians’) support”
Vanguard of March 18 disseminated a few solecisms starting with this banner: “CNS indicts major oil companies in (for/on) oil theft”
Yet another lexical crisis: “…that the police was (were) supporting the impeached speaker of the House….”

“…at the expense of majority (the majority) of other members of the House”
“He said the police cannot (could not) be dragged into the mess….”
“Underfunding, bane to (of) poly education”
Still on National Mirror under focus: “…incessant strikes actions….” Education Today: incessant strikes
“Truancy among professors and other senior academic staff often percolate (percolates) down the academic hierarchy….”
“Modibbo meets delegates, promises all inclusive (all-inclusive) government”
“Obiazor relishes Super Eagles (Eagles’) call-up”
“Group insists PDP, APC should pick Christian (Christians) as flag bearers) in 2019” The way to go: standard bearer
“We express these fears, knowing fully well the nature of ….” This amounts to ill-treatment of the English language. Right: knowing full well
“The NFF still have to decide on the outcome of some matches” ‘Federation’ takes a singular verb.
“What is good for the goose can’t be bad for the gander. “ I do not understand the use of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ instead of ‘sauce’ in this instance.
“…but LifeStyle will not hesitate to remind you about (sic) one of the qualifying criterion for this jamboree…” Singular: criterion; plural: criteria. In addition, ‘remind you of…’
“An alleged hike in school fees has created a row between the management and the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of…. “PTA means Parent-Teacher Association.
“The donation of vehicles and communication gadgets provide a good beginning. “ The donation … provides.
“Fear of robbers keep lawyers away from courts” Fear of robbers keeps…
“CBN intervention bouys naira” (BUSINESSDAY, March 21) Get it right: buoys.
“You must be matured and in love with jazz music.” (DAILY TIMES, March 21) Just ‘mature’.
The next three errors are from NTA Network News of May 21:
“….who presided at the occasion?” NTA correspondents should be civilized: the preposition that goes with ‘occasion’ is ‘on’ (not ‘at’)

“He said that the ministry intends to restore back…“ ‘Restore back’ shows unintelligibility. With ‘restore’, you cannot have ‘back’. We should not use words we do not understand their meanings (or implications). The English language has evolved from the old period to the modern era. Therefore, journalists must avoid Anglo-Saxon expressions.
“Each of the stadia was provided with practicing pitch.” It is not the pitches that practise as implied in the statement. Therefore, the sensible phrase ought to be ‘practice pitch.’ Lexical and semantic appropriateness demands this line of thought.
“Captain…wedded former Miss… in Lagos over the weekend with pomp and pageantry. “ (THISDAY, March 20) ‘Pomp and pageantry’ is not an accepted phrase. The standard expression is ‘pomp and circumstance’ or ‘pomp and ceremony.’ It can simply be left as ‘pomp’. If you do not remember these forms, rephrase. At least, you can always recollect that the Nigerian creation (pomp and pageantry) is uneducated.
“Truely, Jos is a home of peace and tourism.” (DAILY NEWS, March 21) Correct form: truly
“This development is unlike in some states where education have (sic) died a natural death…” (DAILY CHAMPION, March 21) Indeed, education has died in Champion House!
“SINCE the corruption of political crisis in neighbouring Chad….” (Source: as above) This way: eruption

“PUBLIC affairs analysts of the most diverse persuasions are agreed on one thing: the world is at a crossroad. “ (Source: as above) This way: at a/the crossroads (not crossroad)
“It is therefore, (sic) noteworthy that the AU has now seen the wisdom in pooling the resources of member-states together to prevent ugly incident (sic)… “(NIGERIAN TRIBUNE, March 21) When resources are pooled, there is no need for ‘together’.
“New TV station to take-off soon” (VANGUARD, March 21) Just delete the hyphen to form a phrasal verb.
“The hopes of millions of our country-men are centred around us.” (THISDAY, March 21) ‘Centre’ admits ‘on’, ‘round,’ ‘upon’… never ‘around’.
“Unclaimed properties of accident victims” ‘Property’ in this context is non-count. It can only take the plural form if buildings and acres of land are involved – or scientific references.

“This unrestrained blood-bath follow (follows)….”
“Yes, Nigerians love to eat traditional meals with their bare fingers but that is not to say we cannot provide foreigners with cutleries.” (Tourism & Hospitality, March 21) ‘Cutlery’ is uncountable.
“Villagers beseige hospital for free treatment” (DAILY NEWS, March 21) Right: besiege
“In this way, life expectancy bulges as the chances of contacting diseases considerably diminish.” (Source: as above) Nobody contacts a disease…‘contract’ is the word.
“The progressive social option implicit in President Buhari’s analysis is affirmative action aimed at eliminating or drastically reducing poverty.” (Source: as above) ‘…an affirmative action.’ Articles are not optional in count words.