Which: ‘Onset’ or Outset?



With Ebere Wabara; ewabara@yahoo.com, 08055001948

“IF the deduction of the proposed $1bn is for investment purpose….” Punching below the belt: an investment purpose or investment purposes

“Lagosians have a cause to celebrate as the state government opens a modern bridge in upscale Lagos Island.” Sights & Signs: on upscale Lagos Island.

“Police is your friend, so extend the hand of fellowship to them (sic).” Either the policeman is your friend, so extend your hand of fellowship to him or the police are your friends, so extend the hand of fellowship to them. Even the police themselves are guilty of this juvenile grammatical solecism!

“Peak reiterates commitment to sustain quality” Why not ‘Peak reiterates quality sustenance’?

“Falcons failure puts Eguavoen under pressure” SPORT ON SATURDAY: Falcons’ failure.

“On Arsenal website, the England youth international, who has accepted to play for the Super Eagles (another comma) was described as a powerful but technically-astute midfielder….” ‘But’ is a contrasting conjunction misapplied here. The right word should be ‘and’.  

“…keep resting in the bossom of the Lord.” Spell-check: bosom.

“Most airports set-up for political motives—Experts” Perhaps, by year-end, we shall de-emphasize this continual abuse of phrasal verbs: set up.

“The siege on The Nation” The siege to (not on)

“CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: String of loses haunt Man U” Two points: losses; and string of losses haunts (not haunt)!

“One may say that in some countries people literarily (literally) fought for their independence.”  

“Trouble, however, started when security personnels at the stadium adopted the Boko Haram style.” ‘Personnel’ is non-count.

“I was a witness to a very moving event recently at the Idimu Police Station at the outskirts of Lagos.”  From A to Z: on the outskirts.

“A strong grassroot force has to be in the drivers’ seat for the targeted poverty programme.”  Richness of language: grassroots.

“The poor has to see themselves properly involved in the programme.”  How does it sound? Once more, the poor think more about money than the rich!

“Government should take the bull by the horn and restructure PHCN.” No blackout: take the bull by the horns.

“Nigeria needs a judiciary that would neither be intimidated or humiliated.” Neither…nor and either…or. No carelessness!

“This is because the governor was not really in the good book of the electorate.”  A fall foreseen: in the good/bad books of the electorate.

“Hunger is threatening to crush majority of our citizens.” The shape of things to come: a/the (take note of the determiner) majority of our citizens.

“…other inducements to get the electorates vote for them.”  The electorate/electors—note, however, that some language activists unofficially insist that the word is correct!

“The type of exotic jewelleries (jewellery) you can find at museum shop.”  ‘Jewellery’ is uncountable.

“…the president of the country can be harassed with a degree that bothers (borders) on flippancy….”

“The noise have (has) been deafening about imposition of candidates.…”

“Sometimes (Sometime) around (about) 9.35 a.m., a convoy of six cars comprising of….” Do away with the second ‘of’ in the extract.

“There were sporadic explosions while the cars were burning in Maiduguri apparently due to remnants of ammunitions.”  ‘Ammunition’ does not take any inflexion.

“Beyond the cloud, pomp and pageantry.…”  Either pomp and ceremony or pomp and circumstance

“As the saying goes, money is the root of all evils.”  From my file, the love of money (not money itself) is the root of all evils.

“Also, at the onset (outset) of the computer revolution.…”

“The naira permitted it’s (its) designers to inflict on it some tribal (ethnic) marks.”

“They aroused his curiousity and we soon displayed all the denominations of the naira…”  Spell-check: curiosity.

“Beyond mere symbols of ethnic jingoism which may prove difficult for the ordinary man in the street to identify….” ‘The man in the street’ does not require any embellishment such as ’ordinary’ because the man is simply ordinary.

“…eyes where poor man (a poor man) can own mansions in (on) Victoria Island.”

“One is gratified by the rising attention on (to) consumerism in the organized private sector.”

“In addition, there had been no report that he had gone to condole (condole with) the family of (the) late….”

“…he may be able to warm (worm) himself in (to) the recognition and acceptance of the various nationalities and interest groups in Nigeria.”

“The police officer noted that since armed bandits have (had) shifted their operation to the churches….”  Whoever wrote ‘armed bandits’ obviously does not understand the nature of banditry. There is no banditry without arms.  Otherwise, it becomes another form of criminality, not banditry.

“They demanded for money only after they had made sure that the victim would not survive the shooting” Delete ‘for’.

“…Most victims of sexual exploitation were found to be young girls aged between 13 to 18 years.  Between 13 and 18 or from 13 to 18

“…that effort at sensitizing Nigerians on (to) the essence of the Vision 20-2020 is well in an advanced stage.” What is the definition of the cliché ‘advanced stage’? Any form of public communication—gestural, written or verbal—that is subject to individualistic interpretations is not efficient and effective.

“ACF urges Boko Haram to sheath swords” Truth is a burden: sheathe swords.

“New car owners stranded over plate numbers” Aso Chronicle: number plates

“New Year bomb victim dissatisfied over (with) treatment abroad.”

“Muslims in all continents of the world would today celebrate Eid-El-Kabir.” My comment: on all continents.

“…at (in) the nick of time to provide him a white ram that was slaughtered as replacement (a replacement) of (for) his son, Ismael (Ismail/Ishmael)”

“It is hoped that those engaging in acts inimical of (to) the nation’s corporate progress….”

“We seize today’s occasion of….” For Americanism and all its informalities, this is acceptable. But, in formal (standard) British entry—which I strongly advocate—you take or use an occasion/opportunity. ‘Seize’ has an inherent, elemental force (connotatively and denotatively), imperativeness of sociolinguistics, notwithstanding.

“Entrepreneurs team-up (team up) with Rivers on investment”

“…the intrigues has (have) just begun.”

“Each passing day I pray that the lord will wipe my tears, heal the wound and the pains that your sudden departure have (has) left in my heart.”

“I still thank God because I believe that you are resting peacefully in His bossom (bosom).” And this, by the way: in God’s bosom, peace is integral and guaranteed. My condolences, the avoidable slips notwithstanding.

“We are however rest assured that you are been (being) taken care of and that one day, we will meet to part no more.”  

“…many Nigerians have expressed mixed reactions over (to) this development.”

“The herbalist allegedly demanded for his wife’s eyeball….” Delete ‘for’ in pursuit of lexical excellence.

“Nigerian women are not mediocre” Our women are not mediocrities or mediocrists. Put differently, Nigerian women are not mediocre people (adjectival parlance).

“Nigeria’s First Lady and wife of the president Dame Patience….” Obviously, ‘Nigeria’s First Lady’ or ‘the president’s wife’ is enough—not both at the same time! (This observation was contributed by Lucky Ihanza)

“Several (Many, preferably) innocent Nigerians have been killed by uniform (uniformed) men at checkpoints for failure to give bribe (bribes).”

“He got the woman’s phone number and texted (text-messaged) her N500 phone (recharge) credit.”

“…until such a time his adversary is able to proof (prove) to the court that he is not the rightful king.”

“Police contributes (contribute) to sexual violence in Nigeria, says Olufemi”

“I doff my hat for the resilience of those who staked their necks to confront the excesses of the military.” Dogma at the barricades: I doff/take off my hat to (not for) newspaper contributors, the occasional Freudian slips notwithstanding.