‘Blame’ Non-count

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By EBERE WABARA

DAILY SUN Front Page Sub-headline infraction of February 13 welcomes us today: “Parties trade blames over alleged violence plot” Voice of The Nation: ‘blame’ is non-count/uncountable.

“The Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room will be on ground to receive reports and provide accurate, (‘and’ instead of this comma) unbiased analysis (analyses) of the 2019 Nigeria (Nigerian) general elections”

“The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) wish (wishes) to inform the general public (the public)….” (Full-page advertisement by NIWA signed by Senator, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, MD/CEO of NIWA)

DAILY Sun Editorial of February 11 disseminated copious juvenile errors: “Other factors that led to high cost of governance, according to him, include (included) high cost (again?)….”

“However, Gana advised that the high cost of governance can (could) be reduced by merging….”

“Besides, he stated that attitudinal change in terms of disposition and lifestyle of political leaders are viable options (is a viable option) to prune the cost of governance.”

“…efforts to reduce the cost of governance has (why?) been feeble and, indeed, overlooked by politicians.”

“Kajuru killings: El-Rufai, community trade blames” (DAILY Sun Front Page Sub-headline, February 18) For the third time in two weeks: ‘blame’ is uncountable!

“Ugwuanyi visits victims of New Haven fire outbreak” (National News Headline, February 18) Delete ‘outbreak’ because of its needlessness.

“SMS the incidence (incident) to 196 (toll free)” (This full-page message is brought to you by the National Crisis Management Centre)

“This is, by all accounts, a damning statistics (statistic).” (DAILY Sun Editorial, February 18)

“…the presidential committee failed to recognize the ages long (age-long) truism that….” (DAILY SUN OPINION Page, February 18)

“Customs begins distribution of rice, vegetable oil to orphanages home in Lagos” (THE BUSINESS REPORT, February 18) Simply orphanages in Lagos

“NECA decries incessant ASUU strike (strikes)” (Source: as above)

“Nnamdi Azikwe (Azikiwe)” (DAILY Sun Back Page Caption, February 18)

“We are glad that the police has (have) recognized terrorism as a menace that calls for special training of its (their) officers.”

“Care must be taken, however, to ensure that the need for specialized training on terrorism for officers and men of the security agencies are not turned into avenue (an avenue) to line up (for lining up) the pockets of top officials of the agencies.” The most critical aspect of the foregoing extract: Care must be taken, however, to ensure that the need for…is (not are)….

Let us visit Vanguard of February 9: “The state, therefore, does not deserve the treatment being currently meted to it”.  Fixed expression: meted out (to). And this: ‘being’ and ‘currently’ cannot co-function.

“Chief of Naval Staff advocates for increased productivity via industrialization” What a wordy head! When used as a verb, ‘advocate’ does not admit ‘for’.  Let us economize words, especially in headline casting: Naval Chief advocates increased productivity.

“For the university to recommend that students should pay for the damages while they have.…” A recurring error: except in legalese, ‘damage’ cannot be pluralized. (Daily Independent, February 9)

“…rather than investigating and finding out who were involved and check against future re-occurrence.” Beyond recurrence (not reoccurrence), can an event yet to take place happen in the past?

“…the university is pointing its accusing fingers in the direction of the lecturers.” Correct expression: point a/the finger.

“…the AU summiteers concentrated almost exclusive (sic) on the political independence and liberation of countries in the continent.” (Daily Trust, February 8) In the interest of African Unity: on the continent.  “Monday’s action, which started at dawn, was as a result of the break-down of series of negotiations…” An agendum: a series of.

“According to the source, the institution has a very high percentage of failure in the last academic year.”  Reported speech: the institution had (not has).

 “…that the authorities of the institution was (were) still waiting the result of the police analysis of the bomb”.

“…in the next three years, its per capital income would have….” This way: per capita income.

THE GUARDIAN on Sunday of March 4 disseminated dozens of blunders: “The home of the chairman…was vandalized and most of his properties littered outside. “ No chaos: most of his property.

“So how come that (why is it that) Mr…. who was vehemently criticized by our sports writers during his coaching days with our Super Eagles has now warmed his way into the hearts of these same people…”   In the spirit of sportsmanship and lexical sanity, let us replace ‘warmed’ with ‘wormed’.

THISDAY of February 9 embarrassingly went down with copious blunders:”But experts have pointed that the inflation rate….” Contextually, the phrasal verb that applies here is ‘pointed out’… and not just the verb ‘pointed’ which means another thing entirely. Additionally, phrasal verbs do not tolerate hyphens.

“In his six-page address paying glowing tribute (tributes) and homage to former vice-president late Alex Ekwueme….” The late Alex Ekwueme….

“Nigeria Breweries poise for better future performance” The alcoholic beverage firm is poised (not poise) for….

“Furthermore, the conduct of officials and the general logistical support for the just-concluded voter registration were unprecedented in the annals of our nation’s history.”  ‘Annals of history’ is simply tautological. Just employ any of the variants. Both cannot be used in the same context (environment). This is my own standpoint—some purists disagree.

“Despite the Moslem-Moslem ticket which he and his vice-presidential candidate held, majority of Christians across the country still rallied in their favour.” Get it right: a majority of Christians.

“In fact, nobody needs to go far in our contemporary world to find such helplessly troubled spots because they abound everywhere, in virtually all parts of the globe.” Morphology in turmoil: trouble spots, please.

“The eventual failure of many of such drugs have not discouraged fresh attempts at inventing more effective ones.” The battle against discord continues: The failure…of drugs has (not have).

“The heavy downpour most of last year has made the price of perishable commodities in the market to come down due to low patronage by consumers.”  ‘Downpour’ does not require amplification (heavy) because of inherence. And ‘patronage’ is usually by consumers or their proxies. So, ‘by consumers’ is otiose.

This next paragraph is repeated because of the persistent committal of the blunder. This column will not address it again.

“Of all the first generation (a hyphen, please) universities, OAU is arguably the one that was able to preserve its known ideology for the longest.” I do not agree with the usage of “arguably” by a majority of Nigerian writers. The explanation I got from one of the country’s frontline editors recently was not convincing: when you have points to justify your claims, it becomes arguable and when there are no justifications, you employ “unarguably.” If you are sure of your statement, make it declarative by jettisoning “arguably.” And if you are unsure, do not make claims. If you do, be ready to argue it elsewhere when confronted (not in your contribution). For the avoidance of doubt, “arguable” (adjective) and its adverb (arguably) mean: ”…for which good, if not necessarily convincing, reasons may be found/open to doubt/not certainly, but reasonably held to be.”  (Source: THE NEW LEXICON WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, 2017) My grouse about this illogical excerpt is the intrinsic and quite avoidable element of doubt.