Christian Wake, Not ‘Wake-keeping’



With Ebere Wabara


YOU are welcome to this first edition in May: “Governors biting more than they can chew” (NIGERIAN Tribune Back Page, April 29) A rewrite: Governors biting off more than they can chew

“I am immuned from litigation, says Bankole” (THISDAY, April 24) Just like “opportune”, the only inflection “immune” takes is “immunity”. Therefore, this columnist is not immune (not immuned!) from criticism.   

A subscriber to this column sent a message to me last weekend on the correctness of “wake” and “wake-keep”. There are no such words as “wake-keeping” and “wake-keep”. The right expression is “wake.” Virtually all funeral announcements in this part of the world disseminate this blunder in blissful flamboyance. And for clarity or emphasis: Christian wake.

“He is frank to the point of recklessness and does not bath (bat) an eyelid about sensibilities.”

“Successful candidates in the exam are placed into (in) universities depending on their performances and choices.”

“The picture one is likely to get is that of lawmakers yet to come to grip (grips) with the seriousness of what their duties entail.”

“Both palatable and heart-rending news are (is) most often broken there.” ‘News’ is uncountable.

“…his skin must have toughen (you mean toughened?) such that nothing can stir his emotion as to make him cry.”

“They were, in their primes (prime), sent on a journey from which nobody returns.”

“Its police, too, began investigations culminating into (in) arrest of some suspects.”

“Since last week Tuesday….” Either last Tuesday or Tuesday, last week. ‘Last week Tuesday’ indicates lexical ignorance.

“…our politicians should realize that if they can hold the country into (to) ransom for their jumbo pay, then footballers should not be blamed if they do same (the same).”

“Rashford girds lions (loins) for Man U and Johnson stems-up for record” For sports journalists (who cherish language abuse), phrasal verbs do not admit hyphenation.

“In Nigeria, it was designed by the military dictators as bait to divert the attention of the people from the enormity of their loots.”  No questions: ‘loot’ is non-count.

“…it was seen as a child of necessity aimed at restoring the primary education sub- sector which was in crisis then back to a sound foundation.”  Scrap ‘back’ to avoid being charged with word abuse. ‘Restoration’ has taken care of the verbiage.

“All that we have in the present Nigerian society is an hostile (a hostile) environment for the youths and children.” Either youth or the youth

“Having succeeded in intimidating their opponents at primaries, the electorate became a work-over….”  A time to learn: walk-over.

“A nearby police station in Benin has (had) rebuffed the request for a police report on the ground of jurisdiction.” Simply put: on grounds of jurisdiction.

“Anyone who monitored the mobilization of women in the last fifteen years in Nigeria could imagine positive results that could have been achieved if the First Ladies have (had) been sincere.”

“We do not have to wait for this sporadic attacks by foreign armed bandits to metamorphose into a full blown (a hyphen, please) security threat.”  Why the discord (this attacks)? And, of course, banditry without arms…vide a standard dictionary.

“Because of an improved revenue base, the governor said that the government is (was) in a good position….”

“What stops us from returning to the heydays (heyday) of the school.…”

“This does not mean that a lady should not be congratulated for (on/upon) a safe delivery.”

“…many of the specie (species) had run amuck simply on the suspicion that another woman is nipping at the apple.”

“Industry players blamed the high cost of borrowing from the money market to (on) a number of factors.”

“It is high time we make (made) such people pay….”

“…especially with regards to human development”  This way: as regards or with regard to.

“…as the North would be placed on an even keel or competing favourably with their kiths and kin in the South.” Fixed expression: kith and kin

“Tears of instability of power has (have) caused many Nigerians to turn their attention to alternative sources of power supply.”

“The most cheering news item in recent times is the marching order given to the NPF….” Stock phrase: marching orders.

“The police strenght is inadequate to cope with the security of a large population of 150 million Nigerians.”  Spell-check: strength. Similarly: straight.

“News from reliable sources tend (tends) to portray a government tendency itching (do you mean inching?) towards sustenance.…”

“Ex-head of states, who have cracked and liquidated the nation’s coffers are to be paid or are receiving N350,000 every month.” Building a new nation: Ex-heads of state

“Vocational equipments, basic infrastructures and qualified personnels must be given priority in our scheme of things.”  Uncountable words: booty, equipment and personnel.

“The news of the death of…via a ghastly motor accident recently came as a rude shock to us.”  Advert condolence: fatal (not ghastly) motor accident. Beyond the correction, since the man died, there was no need for the inclusion of the mode of mishap.  Simply a motor accident…Got the point? Who can explain the etymology of “rude shock” to me? I am not used to such native registers.

“But suffice it to say that those rooting to unseat a recalcitrant lawmaker should be abreast with (of) the legal bottleneck rather than arm-twisting.”

“It is very easy for a moneybag (sic) that has….“ ‘Moneybags’ (plural unchanged) (especially informal and derogatory) is a rich person. (Source: OXFORD Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English for Advanced Learners) “Moneybag” is a bag for containing money.