‘Clothing’ Uncountable



By Ebere Wabara

DAILY SUN of September 19 welcomes us today with copious headline wrongs: “CUPP alleges plot to illegally re-open (reopen) NASS”

“How traders, artisans, others make mass education centre thick (tick)”

“Engineering women mentor Ikeja girls for future technology roles” A rewrite: Women engineers mentor Ikeja girls for future technological roles

“AFCON to hold stakeholders (stakeholders’) forum on political communication”

“2019: Olawepo decries high cost of nomination fees (forms)”

“…organisational and technical decision making (decision-making) organs of CAF and FIFA.”

“GEMZONE: Diamond Bank target (why?) more customers in reward scheme”

“He further reiterated that it is the responsibility of state party members to choose a flag-bearer (standard-bearer) through a democratic and peaceful process.” ‘Reiteration’ does not require any intensification (“further”).

“Orlu Zonal Political Leaders (Leaders’) Forum: “…as he marks his 76th birthday anniversary (sic) today.”

THE NATION ON SUNDAY COMMENT Page of August 5 mounts the stage: “…fan the ember (embers) of discord among the people.”

THE GUARDIAN of July 16 takes over the baton today with two headline blunders: “NCC raises alarm (the alarm) on increasing threat to communication services”

“ExxonMobil invests $40bn on (in) hydrocarbon”

“At the induction ceremony (sic) of the new provost of Christ Church Cathedral, Lagos, the choir rounded up in the induction ceremony (sic) by rendering an anthem.…” Even the Bible cannot confuse ‘round off’ with ‘round up’!

“Africa continues to experience sluggish economic growth because more than half of the countries in the continent are among the poorest nations in the world.” Get it right: on the continent.

“But they point out that the organisation had expended all its ammunitions…” ‘Ammunition’   is non-count.

“The Trans-Saharan Trade which broadened Kan’s fame and fortune dealt principally in slaves and traditional dye-clothings.” This way: ‘clothing’ does not admit any inflection.

“They had only been paying lip service (a hyphen, please) to the pursuit for agricultural self-sufficiency.” Get it right: in the pursuit of….

“As they continue to sing… government may be forced to chew its words not too far from now…” Correct expression: swallow one’s (its) words; not chew.

“In a country where friends share no faith in each other; where the only objective is ‘me and my brother’ must carry the loots. “ ‘Loot’ is non-count.

“In spite of the air-condition in the car….” It’s called air-conditioner.

“Passport booklets scarcity worsen” Scarcity worsens.

“Furthermore, to check all manners of inhumanity to one another….” Standard idiomatic expression: all manner of…

The next grotesque blunder is from THISDAY of July 31: “His recent errands to Europe for the present administration and his utterances has prompted this essay.” Essay indeed! Verb plurality here is very clear (have; not has).

“There is bound to be conflicts and if need be wars…” An accord: there are bound to be conflicts…

“At every fora, that was mouthed even by those in the saddle now.” (THISDAY COMMENT, July 31) This way: At every forum… Singular:  forum; plural: fora or forums.

“Please switch off all lightings/appliances after the days’ work.” (Notice on Vanguard Media Limited doors) I think pressmen ought to mind their language: the day’s work. Also, ‘lighting’ is uncountable. “To compliment their lean financial purse.…” An example of malapropism: inability to distinguish between ‘complement’ and ‘compliment.’ Some writers need to go back to school!

“Food production has often failed to keep pace with population growth, while earning from export commodities have not done much.”  Get it right: while earning from export commodities has (not have).

“What is your recommendation with regards to that?” Either ‘as regards’ or ‘with regard to’ No irregularity!

“Cuba, Nigeria to strenghten cultural ties” Get it right: strengthen  

“Newspaper pages are repleted with such stories.…” Replete, gentlemen

“Unfortunately, it was…who blew the lead open.…” It’s ‘lid’; not ‘lead’!

“But on Monday, hundreds of restive staff of the ministry laid siege around the entrance to the….” (THISDAY, July 31) Lay (laid) siege to; not ‘around’.

“Among other things, this has repeatedly given rise to late procession of examination particulars.” Get it right: late processing (not procession).

“But it soon done on the ring leader of the putsch that it was only partially successful.” Bad grammar can hinder a coup! ‘Dawned’ (not ‘done’)

“He died Wednesday evening in Abuja at Agura Hotel junction within the city in a ghastly motor accident.” When death results from a vehicular mishap, it becomes a fatal—not a ghastly—one.

“Heavy downpour almost marred proceedings….” ‘Downpour’ does not require any amplification.

“What tradition has joined together….” (THISDAY, August   31) ‘Join’ can elegantly perform the function of that Biblical phrase!

“Consequent upon poor funding, the commission’s ability to acquire new vehicles have been greatly impaired.” The syntactic arrangement here calls for ‘has’—not ‘have’.

“The research institutes should therefore take into cognizance the relevance of local needs, simplicity, economic viability and market acceptance when designing their produces.” ‘Produce’ is an uncountable entry.

“Its centrality as the link and gateway to the outside world make it all the more pervasive.” Its centrality…makes….

It is perhaps too late to object to ‘upliftment’ now. There is upliftment meaning uplift in the dictionary ((see World Book Dictionary, Page 2299). Besides, there are uplifting (adjective), uplift (verb) and uplifter its corresponding noun. More power to your elbow.

In journalism, ‘Gentlemen of the Press’ is the appropriate tag irrespective of gender. This is not a matter of grammar.

“We maintain that the government must take the bull by the horn by empowering NDIC….” Formal structure: take the bull by the horns.

“…winner of the women’s cycling race power home under the rain….” This way: in the rain.

“FRSC must device its means and ways of self-sustenance.” Noun: device; verb: devise.

“Everything was available in abundance at the party that was held somewhere in Victoria Island.” Famous folk celebrate on Victoria Island.

“Already the poor is financially emasculated.…” Even the rich are (not is) equally emasculated.

“It must also have taken into consideration that the case, if not satisfactorily managed, could become precedence with latent domino effect.”  Any lead writer worth his salt ought to appreciate the distinction between ‘precedence’ and ‘precedent’. Editorial writing is the hallmark of newspapering.