‘Death’ Uncountable



    By  Ebere Wabara , ewabara@yahoo.com, 08055001948

    DAILY SUN Editorial of August 8 welcomes us this week with this misunderstanding of a natural inevitability: “Last week, another outburst of violence led to the deaths (death) of 15 persons….” ‘Death’ is uncountable

    Next from the above edition is this recurrent headline mistake: “VGN operatives arrested over (for) illegal weapons”

    “Nigerians appreciate this gesture as a visible effort to curb (a comma) if not end (another comma) the mayhem.”  (DAILY Sun Editorial, August 8) Punctuation is one of the hallmarks of good writing.

    “Restoration of good governance in (to) Enugu” (DAILY SUN OPINION Page Headline, August 8)

    Wrong: birthday anniversary

    Right: birthday                                                                                                                                             NATIONAL NEWS of August 1 circulated this headline solecism: “Benue: Attempts by 8 lawmakers to impeach Ortom is unconstitutional…” ‘Attempts…is’?  Delete ‘is’ from the extract to avoid lexical mayhem!

    From SOUTH EAST NEWS comes the next headline wrong: “Ekwunife commends Buhari over (for) N37bn refund to Anambra

    “Nobel laurel (laureate), Prof. Wole Soyinka….” (SOUTH WEST NEWS Caption, August 1)

    DAILY Sun Editorial of August 1 circulated the next two blunders: “One of the ugly fallouts of our participation in the recently concluded (recently-concluded) Russia 2018 World Cup….” ‘Fallout’ is non-count

    “…as a deterrent to others who may want to tow (toe) the same path in future.”

    THE NATION ON SUNDAY of July 29 takes the baton from DAILY SUN with just three gaffes: “Mixed reaction greets sackings” This is no news: mixed reactions greet sackings

    “DIG commends army, police over (for) Yobe attacks”

    Lastly from Fatai Atere Way: “Onitsha is better now, say Obiano” What’s going on here?

    Let us continue with a visit to Champion House, Ilasamaja, Mushin, Lagos: “Soldiers take over troubled spots” (Daily Champion, July 20) Let peace reign: trouble spots.

    “Post election violence spreads” (Vanguard Front Page Bold Headline, April 19) Towards a better life for the people: Post-election violence….

    Yet another headline solecism from Vanguard of the next day: “Post poll violence continues” Solution as above. Somebody should inform editors at Kirikiri Canal of this recurring lapse.

    “President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, expressed sadness over the sporadic violent protest (protests)….” (Vanguard, April 19)

    The next headline blunder is from last week’s edition of this medium: “Police arrest four over Maiduguri explosion” Do we arrest the entire editorial team for (not over) lexical recklessness?

    “This time around we want change through the power of….” Edifying God: This time round (British) and the extract (American)

    “Bribery enthrones mediocrity and crucify merit.” The Tabernacle of bribery crucifies merit.

    “Gang up against Buhari will fail” (NIGERIAN Tribune, 15 April) Phrasal verb: gang up; noun: gang-up (which applies here).

    “We were treated to another similar incidence.…” All newspapers should know the difference between ‘incidence’ and ‘incident’

    “Although the governor’s last minute romance with the main opposition party is held against him.…” Saturday People: last-minute (take note of the hyphen) romance

    “Thus, a core investor…with regards to optimal use of the machinery.…”  (THE GUARDIAN, July 12) Either: as regards or with regard to….

    “In the heydays of the goggled General when fuel was often unavailable…” (THE GUARDIAN, July 20) Stranglehold of oil workers: heyday (uncountable).

    “Last year, many houses of the Igbo in Ajegunle, a suburb of Lagos, were razed down.…” (THISDAY, April 20) No word abuse: simply razed (not razed down). Discard the contrary views by some registers!

    Yet another headline gaffe: “Restrictions on inter-bank foreign exchange trading is (are) killing the market.”

    “Armed robbers now have good company—street thugs and unofficial vigilante groups.” (THE GUARDIAN, July 20) Democracy as a disincentive: vigilance group.

    Buhari points accusing fingers at INEC….” (DAILY SUN, April 20) People in the news: Buhari points the finger. No obtuse addition.

    “Nigeria is at a crossroad” (VANGUARD, July 20) Fixed expression: at a/the crossroads

    “Stationeries badly needed by.…” (DAILY INDEPENDENT, July 20) ‘Stationery’ is non-count.

    “But what appears criminal is the desire of these off-springs of.…” (DAILY CHAMPION, April 20) ‘Offspring’ does not take any inflection.

    The next three goofs are from VANGUARD of July 20:”…the process of economic integration from which will emerge an economic block (bloc).…”

    “There is a tussle going on between these two (would it have been three?) arms of government.”

    “Nigerian leaders and politicians have continued to adopt and acquiesce to (in).…”

    Globacom sets (set) to rule domestic market” (Nigerian Tribune, July 20)

    “I have been briefed that the wrangling among the leaders of PDP are (is) over.” (SUNDAY VANGUARD, August 5)

    BusinessDay of July 20 disseminated a recurring impropriety: “Now that the Police has (have) taken over the supervision of the….”

    “…and ensure it does not reoccur again.”  (THE GUARDIAN, July 20) ‘Reoccur again’? Run for cover, my dear reader! Just recur. Recur, recurrence, recurrent. Occur, occurred, occurrence.

    “Lack of incentives anger (angers) local manufacturers” (THE GUARDIAN, July 20)

    “They provide temporary relief.” (Source: as above) ‘Temporary relief? I strongly object to that clumsy expression because there is no permanence in ‘relief’. If the ‘relief’ becomes permanent, then it is a cure, a solution—no longer a relief. Got the hang?

    “The patients pay for each act of ‘healing’ through their noses.” Get it right: they pay through the nose.

    “At the launching programme (launch) in Abuja.…”

    “A cursory look at the figures show (shows) that.…”

    Daily Sun of July 19 circulated copious shibboleths: “The end point is that people wait for between three to five hours to pay in their drafts.” English without tears: between three and five.

    “With the attainment of the highest office at any strata of government….” Singular: stratum; plural: strata.

    “It may be difficult for Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu to resurrect again politically after his disastrous outing in the presidential elections.”  Please, yank off ‘again’ in the interest of lexical sanity and our democracy.

    “They better not rely on INEC.”  This way: They had better not rely on INEC.

    “Like (As) we had said at various forums….”

    “So, the government cannot ask the Supreme Court to interprete the law.” Spell-check: interpret.  (Source: as above)

    “…the reduction in the number of road accidents and causalities.” This way: casualties.

    “…to that extent, we shall congratulate its authors for (on/upon) hearing the deafening cry of Nigerians for an effective legislature.” (Nigerian Tribune, July 20)

    “Out-of-control trailer crushes 15 persons to death” When people are crushed by a trailer, they cannot be alive except there is divine intervention.  So, ‘crushed to death’, to me, smacks of lexical insensitivity. This is my own perception of ‘crush’, especially in vehicular circumstances. You are at liberty to accept or not. After all, some dictionaries question my poetic licence on this!

    The last entry this week is from UNILAG post-UTME 2018/2019 bulletin: “The university has zero tolerance for drug abuse, hence any student found wanting shall loose (lose) his/her (their) studentship.” This columnist, too, has zero tolerance for institutional poor spelling—especially by my alma mater! And this: ‘prospective studentship’ since the candidate HAS NOT BEEN ADMITTED.