‘Shocker’: Informal Count Noun


Media Gaffes 

With Ebere Wabara

DAILY Sun Front Page Screamer Blunder of August 29 welcomes us to September: “Internet fraud: Wait for more shocker (shockers)—EFCC” Get it right: ‘shocker’ is an informal and countable noun. Depending on context, we could have this: ‘Wait for another shocker’.

From BUSINESS of the above edition comes this headline faux pas: “FG sensitises (sensitizes preferably) stakeholders on (to) accessing N200bn fund”

“Abduction of CMD setback on (to) Edo security—Obaseki”

“NUPENG, PENGASSAN read riot act” Fixed/stock entry: read the riot act

“Gunmen demand for N50m ransom” (Arewa News, September 4) Delete ‘for’ from the extract.

“FG commissions (inaugurates) Africa’s largest off-grid solar power plant in BUK” (Source: as above) 

THISDAY Front Page of August 31 takes over from Voice of the nation with its own four inaccuracies: “Though, (otiose comma) the United States Embassy yesterday said it would….”

“The Coalition (needless capitalization) planning the protest against the British and Irish embassies said it is (was)….”

“In an invite (invitation) to all members….” ‘Invite’ is a colloquial expression unfit for a standard newspaper where truth and reason prevail.

“…to convene meetings to find lasting (a lasting) solution to the perennial conflict”

“Influence of late (the late) Emir Ado Bayero” (THISDAY Plus of August 31)

“Fashola, in a statement through his special adviser on communications, Hakeem Bello, said dupes (dupers) and scammers….” (News around the city, September 2) This way: dupe (the person who is duped—it (dupe) is also a transitive verb which means to trick or deceive someone); duper (the person who commits the act); and dupery (the act and art of duping).

“The FAAN Management is giving a 30 days (a 30-day or 30 days’) grace period effective Monday….” Please note that ‘grace period’ is American English, while ‘grace’ (which I opt for) is the British version.

“Stakeholders spell out dos, don’t (don’ts) in fresh 4-year roadmap to new Minister” (THE BUSINESS REPORT, September 2)

“About 14 people died yesterday in a ghastly (fatal) motor accident at….” (Arewa News, September 2)

“Assailant, vigilante member die in gun duel” (DAILY INDEPENDENT Rider, April 6) Get it right: vigilance member. Alternatively: Assailant, vigilante die in gun duel.

“INEC official arrested over ‘missing’ ballot papers” (THE NATION Front Page Banner, April 5) Truth in defence of freedom: ‘arrest’ takes ‘for’—not ‘over’!

“Woman arrested with AK-47, 148 live ammunitions” (THISDAY Headline, March 31) The last word in the extract is uncountable. The Old English (Anglo-Saxon) period is gone!

“This will remove the possibility of passing the bulk (buck)” (THE PUNCH, March 30) No pedestrian English. 

“The organized private sector took the bull by the horn recently….” (DAILY TRUST, April 6) For a better society: take the bull by the horns

“Britain handed over the reigns of power to the politicians.” (THE GUARDIAN, April 6) Modern English: reins of government.

“One even wonders why government did not adopt that method from the onset (outset).” (Vanguard, April 6)

“This is true given the restricted and guarded comments from those who have been priviledged to view the clips.” (Leadership, April 6) Spellings count: privileged.

“Government needs to put (get) its acts together and prosecute the kidnappers.” (Vanguard, April 6) My own comment: get its act (not acts) together.

“Vigilante group accused of murder“ Get it right: vigilance group.

“Apart from all these, the debt recovery (a hyphen confirms class) level of the banks have not been any issue of interest to NDIC.” (THISDAY, April 2)) Question CBN has to answer, debt recovery has (not have).

“It is believed in some quarters that the Nigerian Police has….” (THE NATION, April 6) Get it right: the Nigerian Police have.

The next five blunders are from Daily Trust of April 5: “And the leaders, being new on the saddle of political leadership (another comma) were.…” The challenges of good grammar: in the saddle

“Efforts by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his group to remove Akintola from office was (were) fiercely resisted.” Why the discord?

“As a new democracy, there was (were) bound to be problems.” 

“In the course of the crisis, Awo and some of his lieutenants were arrested and charged for (with)….”

“The ethnic colouration of the coup led to a counter coup (a hyphen) in July 1966.” Spell-check: coloration

“Have the previous exercises impacted meaningfully on the lives (life) of the average Nigerian?” (National News, April 6) 

“This could not have been possible if they had been outrightly liquidated.” (Source: as above) ‘Outrightly’ is a Nigerian creation!  The right word ‘outright’ functions as an adverb and an adjective. Therefore, it does not require any inflexion. In other words: This could not have been possible if they had been liquidated outright.  Even at that, ‘liquidation’ does not need any qualification because of its causative finality. So, if they had been liquidated….

‘Reopening’ abhors hyphenation.  It is not automatic that any word with a prefix must go with a hyphen, except where there is a vowel replication.  For instance: re-entry, but readmit, readjust, etcetera. 

“Legislators, oil chiefs parley on industry enhancing issues” (DAILY SUN, April 6) Imagine the classical excellence a hyphen between ‘industry’ and ‘enhancing’ would have conferred on the headline.

“I said these are (were) beggars and I told my wife I better (I had better) get money ready for them.” (DAILY INDEPENDENT, April 6)

“…the grassroots population of our people will remain the lifewire of the UBE scheme.” (Leadership, April 6)  Adult literacy: livewire

“The remains of the Ovie, sources in the town revealed, was (were) later tied….”

“And just last Friday, it was reported that the police has (had) arrested the PDP governorship candidate….” (THE GUARDIAN, April 6)

“The meetings were about some developments alright….” (THE PUNCH, April 6) ‘Alright’ (non-standard) is unacceptable for ‘all right’ in formal settings.

“My suggestion, therefore, is that our National Assembly members should tow (toe) the line of reason.” (THE PUNCH, April 6)

“This is because of the numerous restraints, both social and economical, which is (are) associated with the day to day (day-to-day) life of a convict.” (DAILY CHAMPION, April 6)

”…especially those public officers who remain suspect with regards (regard) to their qualifications and credibility to hold public offices” (Nigerian Tribune, April 6) Alternative: as regards their qualifications….

“The nation has (had) in the past pardoned and forgiven it’s (sic) past leaders and citizens who committed one offence or the other (or another).” (Leadership, April 6)

“Such citizens had since been integrated back (reintegrated) into the system.” (Source: as above)

“A recent summit in Kaduna on education in the northern states provided the appropriate forum to revisit, once again….”  (THE PUNCH, April 6) ‘Revisit’ cannot co-function with ‘again’.

“Gone are the days when government can (could) go it alone.” (THE GUARDIAN, April 6)

“Infact (In fact) every (all) loving parents….” (DAILY INDEPENDENT, April 6)

“In the agricultural sector, the two countries can learn a lot from one another (each other).” (Nigerian Tribune, April 6).