Dates, Not Dated, Back To…



By  Ebere Wabara;, 08055001948

THESE 17 luxury cars and SUVs of the former governor which will make any Arabian Sheik grin (green or green with envy) are parked in his GRA Jos adopted home.

“The actual name of the person expected to chairman (chair/preside over) this occasion is….”

Wrong: atimes; right: at times (two words)

“Those who have the power to release the suspect but are passing the bulk (buck) to the courts should be informed that it is against the national interest to refuse to release….”

“The former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, explained that it was not the first time that banks would be liquidated and that the history of bank failure in the country dated (dates) back to 1958 or 1959.” Note: dates back to or dates back from is a stock expression.

“In reaction to the leaflets being circulated, the Kano State Commissioner of Police…made a radio and television broadcast telling the people to ignore the leaflets which he described as the handiwork of mischieve (mischief) makers.” Special note: make-believe (not make-belief).

“When the storm rages, men can do nothing about the storm, but when the storm has seized (ceased), its destruction can be redressed.”

Theoretical linguists, curriculum experts and “educationalists” (educationists or educators), working together or separately, have been busy putting forward suggestions for language education reform. Note especially: “educationalist”, like “unwieldy” or “invitee” or “indisciplined”, is not in any respected dictionary. These comic words were invented by Nigerians.

“Armed robbers again jolted the commercial city of Lagos last week Friday (last Friday/Last Friday week or on Friday, last week).”

“Students write exams half naked (half dressed/half clothed/half covered or half clad, or naked/bare to the waist).”

The Guardian of May 14 fumbled two times: “The United States has donated a whooping (whopping) N995 billion to the Multinational Joint Task Force to boost military operations against the Boko Haram insurgency, the U.S. government has said.” Conscience, Nurtured by Truth: no whooping cough, please

“Also, the Presidency has pledged to garner the necessary investments to improve the wheeling capacity of the nation’s transmission infrastructure.” Would it have been ‘unnecessary’ investments?

Still on THE GUARDIAN under focus: “He said that is (was) why he would come back to salvage the state and rescue it to put it back to realize it’s (its) pride of place as he left it in 2015 and go even beyond that.”

“Cash and carry (Cash-and-carry) democracy, bane of Nigeria’s development”

“Falana supports Soyinka’s objections on (to) Sexual Offences Bill”

“Train to become a certified child care personnel (official)” ‘Personnel’ is a collective noun.

“In other jurisdiction (another jurisdiction or other jurisdictions), you don’t just file for the sake of filing, you can’t just take a matter for the sake of taken (taking) it.”

“We therefore regret any inconveniences this might cause our esteem (esteemed) distributors. This announcement is ordered by Tiens Group—Nigeria.”

“NDIC boss charges corps members on bank saving (bank-saving) culture”

“…and newly-elected officials sworn-in (sworn in) at the federal and state levels….” Phrasal verbs abhor hyphenation.

“Oil swap (Oil-swap) contracts: AITEO not front for Jonathan, Alison-Madueke—Spokesperson” Except if the headline caster meant that oil was swapping contracts!

“Jigawa council chairmen pledge support to (for) APC govt”

“I wish you many more years in good health and prosperity, to further your accomplishments to (in) journalism and humanity (service to humanity, you mean?)”

“I and my wife, Lady (My wife, Lady…and I….) Etymological sequence is critical to good writing.

“Use of made-in Nigerian (Nigeria) cars by Mr. President (Buhari) will lift auto industry”

“Tribunal will recover Abia stolen mandate, APGA chieftain assures” Who did the chieftain assure?

“Soyinka laments Chibok girls (girls’) continued captivity” (THE NATION ON SUNDAY, May 20)

THE NATION ON SUNDAY of May 13 comes up next with the following errors: “Dangote commissions (inaugurates/auspicates/launches, et al) $500 million cement plant in Ethiopia”

“Buhari to flag off (inaugurate) super highway in Cross River”

“First and foremost, you must look at the PDP; they mismanaged their victory and haven (having) mismanaged the victory….”

“The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria…played very prominent roles during the electioneering campaigns that ushered in the new administration.” ‘Electioneering’ and ‘campaigns’ cannot co-exist in the same lexical environment as the former encompasses the latter.

From THE NATION ON SUNDAY of May 6 issues the next set of diseased lines: “Ekweremadu: Igbos (Igbo) right to vote for PDP”

“On the occasion of your birthday anniversary….” For the umpteenth time, ‘birthday’ and ‘anniversary’ cannot co-function. ‘Birthday’ is the anniversary/commemoration of one’s birth.

It seems to me that colleagues of the pen either do not read our Wordsworth or they are simply lazy in the head. Now, in whose pool of blood is a person shot or stabbed to death supposed to lie?

The import of my intervention with regard to the word “decampment”, published in Wordsworth of June 7, appears to have been missed, judging from an undeserved stinging feedback a week later. Granted the word is listed as a noun derived from “decamp” (word not in dispute) in a few dictionaries, it is not a substitute or synonym for “defection” which the concerned writer meant. Longman (Contemporary English), Oxford Advanced Learner’s and Chambers are some standard dictionaries and are not meant for us in the nursery school. The phrase “available to me” was my honest submission. So, it is regrettable that a lofty and highly interactive portal such as Wordsworth is being turned to a platform for hurling abuses and insults at other contributors.

Take note that the old, grammatical rule that “one” must be followed by “one” and its parts –“one, one’s, oneself”, has changed. The feeling that the repetition of “one” – – – one’s (e.g. One must do what one can to ensure one’s family a decent standard of living) makes for a stilted style has now led to the permissible shift from “one, one’s” to “he, his” (e.g. One must do what he can to ensure his family a decent standard of living).

In general, a shift in the number or nature of pronouns is undesirable, but this particular shift is established usage. Examples: When one is in power and things go his way in highly competitive elections, his first task is to fight his own mentality. Perhaps one has gone to the university where he has been given the wrong orientation that his degree is an opportunity to reach for the skies just like that. One could be said to hate himself if he lacks self–confidence in his abilities.

Every user of the language, particularly every journalist or communicator, must keep abreast of the current changes—the dynamics—in the language.