‘Fire Outbreak’ Incorrect


Media Gaffes

WE kick off this edition with a front-page blunder by THISDAY of November 9: “Dorsey, who arrived (arrived in) Nigeria on Thursday night….”

“…on this occasion of amazing (an amazing) milestone of 80th birthday anniversary” Delete the last word from the extract.

“Katsina swears-in (swears in) 11 Sharia judges” Phrasal verbs do not admit hyphenation.

“That the suspension placed on some PDP Members (unnecessary capitalization) who connived with others (it must, of course, be with others) to supplant the Party (party’s) decision with regards to….” (Full-page press release (advertorial) by the Peoples Democratic Party signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, THISDAY, November 9, Page 36) Power to readers: as regards or with regard (not regards) to…. 

DAILY SUN of November 13 circulated the following errors: “The NGE has advised the Federal Government to rescind (rescind the) decision to regulate social media (the social media).”

“The Guild said such regulation (a regulation) contravenes (contravened) Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended)….

“Proposed anti-social media bill face (faces) opposition”

“Heavy smoke billowing out of a plaza following fire outbreak at Martin Street….” (DAILY SUN Front Page Caption, November 8) Delete ‘outbreak’ from the excerpt because of its redundancy. This is a typical example of padding. “Wedding ceremony”; “matriculation ceremony”; “free-for-all fight”; “log of wood”—it is indeed a very long list.

From the editorial column of Daily Sun of Wednesday, December 13, 2019, comes this error: “After months of…intra-party litigations….” ‘Litigation’, being the process of making or defending a claim in court, is non-count. (Contributed by Dr. Stanley Nduagu/Aba/08062925996)

Wrong: last but not the least; right: last but not least

NATIONAL NEWS of October 25 offered readers a cocktail of improprieties: “LIRS seals-off (seals off) Protea Hotel for tax evasion”

“Edo SDP members decamp (defect) to PDP”

“1 die (dies), 6 vehicles, houses burnt as fuel tanker explodes in Benin” 

“When South West APC converges in (on) Ibadan”

“Maximizing broadcast content security ahead of digital switch over (switch-over)”

“Media must assists (why?) in fight against terrorism—FG”

“…indicated that the FG had concluded plans to drag an additional 700,000 companies to shore-up (shore up) its revenue profile.” Phrasal verbs do not admit hyphenation.

“Kekemeke (Kekemeke’s) loyalists invade Ondo APC secretariat”

“Another Delta community threatens to shutdown (shut down) Chevron operations” ‘Shut down’ is a phrasal verb while ‘shutdown’ is a noun.

 Still on National Mirror: “There are some set of laws that governs the universe….” Critical strokes: either a set of laws or some sets of laws—depending on context or style

“Youths should be solution provider (providers) in nation building (nation-building)”

“Growing up…had an ‘arrow’ on her forehead, which helped her to remain focus (focused).”

“NURTW charges members on HIV free (HIV-free) society”

“Singapore jails senior civil servants over (for) corruption”

“ANA postponements (sic) (postpones) November reading”

“Peugeot plans to inject $7.26b on (into) research, development”

“South African Airways celebrates 80 years (years’ or 80th year) anniversary”

“You lived well and you have gone to (preferably for) a well deserved (well-deserved) rest. Rest in perfect peace.” (Full-page obituary) Except for graveyard peace, ‘peace’ is an absolute and does not need inflection, intensification or adumbration. So, rest in peace (R.I.P—not R.I.P.P)! Also note that ‘obituary announcement’ is wrong—just ‘obituary’.

Finally from the Back Page of THE GUARDIAN under review: “One has witnessed at (on) different occasions dissenting opinions of doctors as regards prescriptions for patient’s (a patient’s or patients’) ailment/ailments.” 

Next is DAILY TRUST of October 11: “Alhaji Muhammed Sa’ad Abubakar spoke at his palace in Sokoto….” Does the Sultan of Sokoto have another palace elsewhere? Let us think as we report.

“Heritage Bank plans listing in (on) capital market”

“Pact with China conducive for peace, says Taiwan (Taiwan’s or Taiwanese) president”

“Otherwise, there is no point we engage in importing that much on yearly (a yearly) basis.”

“…he said though the institute has (had) developed 62 rice varieties for farmers, five most prominent varieties are (were) in circulation and are (were) doing very good (well).”

“NEMA, stakeholders meets over displaced persons” You can readily identify the boyish slip-up.

“With the LG polls now fixed for next week Tuesday….” Either next Tuesday or Tuesday, next week

Lastly from DAILY TRUST: “Replicate your performance to (in) your constituents (constituencies)”

“Security at airports: Police deploys (sic) sniffer dogs at (in) Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, 5 others” 

From DAILY TRUST we move to THISDAY of October 12: “Absence of interpreter stalls trial of Portuguese woman charged for (with) drug trafficking”

“Thumb (Thumbs) up for Nigerian refs in Mali”

“Obasanjo: Amaechi’s k-leg (knocked leg) has been straightened” 

The following five solecisms are from DAILY INDEPENDENT of October 12: “DHQ assures of continued offensive” Who did it assure?

“Battle for soul of Ecobank intensifies” So the battle intensifies itself?

“Harnessing potentials of local software industry in Nigeria” ‘Potential’ is uncountable, but we have ‘potentialities’,

“Tackling voters apathy in Nigeria” This way: voter apathy

SATURDAY INDEPENDENT of October 9 disseminated all manner of school-boy mistakes right from the front page: “Fear has grip (gripped) notable politicians in Ebonyi State following findings by….” Most of the ensuing blunders were caused by sheer carelessness and loose thinking as the computer system has an in-built mechanism that detects most of the spelling errors contained herein. 

“The discovery was made when the DSS arrested some kidnappers in the state alleged to be the brain (brains) behind high profile (high-profile) kidnapping in the state.”

“The SSS in the state said on Friday that it has (had) arrested….”

“…motorists were made to watch a bizzare (bizarre) spectacle, (needless comma) as four policemen beat a man gave (who gave) his name as…to a state of stupour (stupor).”

“The policemen, who drove to the scene in a patrol van with registration number KJA 284 AX, threw caution the winds (sic) (threw caution to the winds).”

“Federal University Lafia, (otiose punctuation) matriculates 380 students” Would it have matriculated traders? Just yank off the last word in the extract!

“Community sends SOS to Ihedioha over harrassment” Spell-check: harassment, but embarrassment.

“When Fayemi’s wife rescued woman abandoned with tripplet (triplet)”

Still on SATURDAY INDEPENDENT under focus: “…Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, has already served the people creditably well…” This is an over-kill: use either ‘creditably’ or ‘well’. Both cannot co-function in the same environment.

“D’Banj is one musician (music/musical) act who has been around for years. “

“My husband usually ask (asks) me to abort my pregnancy, woman tells court”

Finally from SATURDAY INDEPENDENT, a voice of your own: “Movie directors threaten sanction on (against) actress”

Next on focus is DAILY SUN of July 12: “They buy at N159 and sell at N167, the CBN has (had) addressed last year when….”

“But what the banks decided to do is (was) to even stop selling.”

“Middle aged (Middle-aged) man commits suicide in Jos…Police tries (try) to uncover his identity”

“IITA creates 40,000 jobs under cassava to ethanol (cassava-to-ethanol) project”

“Edo: Court remands killer cop (killer-cop)…” 

“CBN said money is (was) missing from federation (the federation) account.” 

Wrong: last but not the least; right: last but not least


FROM the editorial column of Daily Sun of Wednesday, December 13, 2019, comes this error: “After months of…intra-party litigations….” ‘Litigation’, being the process of making or defending a claim in a court, is non-count. 

(Contributed by Dr. Stanley Nduagu/Aba/08062925996)


I have lost yet another ardent contributor to this column. We periodically exchanged ideas on the use and abuse of the English language. He always called me to appreciate the interventions of mine and also elucidate on some mistakes users of the language make amid banter. A consultant-virologist of international repute and former Petroleum Minister and one-time Minister of Mines, Power and Steel, may the gentle soul of 83-year-old Prof. Tam David-West rest in peace.