Lexical Exactitude


MEDIAGAFFES With Ebere Wabara

THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER of December 1, welcomes us today: “What he therefore failed to appreciate is that decisions like this put to question….” Sunday Comment: a decision like this or decisions like these (which is appropriate here).

“…the fight against corruption should be of serious concerns (concern) to President Buhari.”
“Low voters turn out (sic) characterizes Kogi West senatorial election” A rewrite: Low voter turnout characterizes Kogi West senatorial election. And this: turnout (also turn-out) but never turn out (when used as a noun).

“…in view of the open declaration of (by) the supervising ministry, Ministry of Finance, to give the tribunal all the necessary backing.” Would it have given it unnecessary backing? Another perspective: in view of the…to back the tribunal.

“Sokoto APC sacks chairman for alleged anti party activities” No news: anti-party activities
“…her mission was to have a first hand (first-hand) experience of rail transportation (transport, preferably) after the federal government have (had) invested so much in turning around the real sector.”
“Sanwo-Olu flags off (launches) 24-hour healthcare”

“…artist who has made a name as a passionate bone collage specialist is that he breaths (breathes) life into bones.”

“Apart from the serenity of the environment which he said makes (made) it unique….”
“Stemming Nigeria’s overzealous spend in (on) overseas medical trips”
“China’s rise and Nigeria’s prospects: Can we replicate same (the same)?”
“The deputy governor was recently accused by the state assembly over (of) an allegation of a bribe for contract money to the tune of N458 million.” Polity: bribe-for-contract money.
“Farewell, Patriach (Patriarch)…late (the late) Elder.…” (Full-page advertisement by Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron)

From this medium we move to THE NATION ON SUNDAY of December 1 which disseminated copious blunders: “This is the same president who said he cannot (could not) grant amnesty to ghosts….”
“Amidst (Amid) succession crisis (crises) rocking the oil-rich….” ‘Amidst’ is strictly literary, old-fashioned and not in tandem with current etymological trends.

“The bitter sweet (bittersweet) experience of marrying a soldier”
“…the ‘cat and mouse’ (cat-and-mouse) relationship between wives and their mother-in-laws” New Woman: mothers-in-law

“And the list of victims continue (continues) to swell on a daily basis.”
“Adesina, speaking on television, said most of the critics do (did) not understand the issues involved….”

“He (Chief Femi Adesina) said such decision (a decision) is (was) not for the President alone….”
“…pointing out that state pardon is to help restore such convicts (ex-convicts, you mean?) back in the society.” Sophisticated ignorance: restore such ex-convicts to the society.

“He also dismissed suggestion that the….” Either suggestions or a/the suggestion that….
“The Tinubu camp should save its breadth (breath) for polemics for debates or electioneering campaigns.” Do away with the last word in the extract to stave off otiose verbiage.
“We believe that the workers are right to demand for the payment of minimum wage.” Delete ‘for’ in the interest of grammatical orderliness.

“The military organize and wrestle (wrest) power by force, and unconstitutionally from elected civilian democratic governments through….” When a group wrests power, it has to be by force of course. So that lexical aspect is needless.

“Sadly enough, this ugly trend of military democracy is gradually but steadily being accepted in the continent.” Always: on the continent.
“…there is (are) bound to be problems.”

“…at the school’s convocation lecture in (on) its premises at the weekend.”
“Besides, it is our belief that the police needs (need) a proper re-orientation along a community line as the case in United States and Israel.”

“Today almost all of the world’s communist societies are reverting back to the free enterprise system….” In the interest of literacy, jettison ‘back’ and move to the next solecism.
“…the pursuit by house members of the economic fallouts of political power….” ‘Fallout’ is non-count.
“Police okay Lagos, Ibadan mass rally” No senility yet: Lagos and Ibadan mass rallies.
“…the mandate given to him as an affront on (to) it and has been citing it as an exclusive wrong done to its people.”

“We join millions of other Nigerians in condoling the bereaved families, students and teachers….” The recurring media tragedy: condole with or, simply, console.

“…giving a marching order that all of them should be shut within a given period ” Memo to the committee on varsity autonomy: marching orders (not a marching order).

“…only when students are made to obtain them in (on) conventional campuses….”
“The important thing is to ensure that only qualified and matured students are given admission into these campuses.” Get it right: mature students. “I am aware that as far back as the early 70s, Ignoble University in France alone has (had) more than 50,000 students.
“We commend both the NLC and the Police for their display of maturity and better understanding of each others’ (each other’s) role in the society.”
“The increasing clamour for the endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari for a third term and governors of the APC is just one of the hydra-headed virus (viruses) destroying the fabrics (fabric) of the ruling party.”
“The management and staff of the NPA congratulates the Honourable Minister of Transport.” Why the discordant tune?
“They include the sponsored maltreatment meted on (meted out to) the Ibos (the Igbo) since after the civil war.”

“…why was he interested when police placed him on its (their) hot list”
“In view of the already mounting electioneering campaigns on the 2023 elections….” Yes, indeed, age is not synonymous with knowledge (wisdom): ‘electioneering’ and ‘campaign’ cannot co-function. Vide any standard dictionary or books on the use of English or effective communication.

“Italy to clampdown on illegal immigrants” Phrasal verbs cannot be joined. Therefore: verb: clamp down; noun: clampdown.

“One is inclined to dismiss talks like this as superstition.” Get it right: talks like these or a talk like this. No muddle, gentlemen.
“Also commendable is (are) the bold efforts of the private firms.”
“If it is the protection of property, then maximum burglary proofing….” No disaster, please: burglar (not burglary) proofing.

“…the government of the day can be able to pilot successfully the affairs of the state.” Salvaging the English language: the government can pilot or will be able to pilot—‘can be able’ is pleonastic.
“These rights must be guaranteed the citizens if the government wants to warm its way into the hearts of the people it governs and enjoy full support and unalloyed allegiance.” Not yet time for synonymous application: replace ‘warm’ with ‘worm’.

“The over-riding objective of the summit should be to make peace return Nigeria back into the Commonwealth fold.” How does it sound if we must be heard: ‘return Nigeria back’? What is the lexical implication of ‘return’? Obviously, ‘back’ is incongruent here.

“First, the communities and individuals that have pooled their resources together to provide water….” Resource pooling means synergy (to achieve comparative advantage). Therefore, ‘together’ is redundant in that extract.

“Because I set out, I thought men had actually come to grasps with the facts of the disease…” Ladies and gentlemen: come to grips (not grasps) with.
“By their words and silences (silence)….”

“So, they demanded for something far more painful to the regime such as oil and air embargoes.” ‘Demand’ as a verb does not require ‘for’.

“Funnily, majority of these study centres are run with part-time and sometimes ‘cheap’ lecturers….” Enter degree vendors: a majority of these centres.