Data: Singular or Plural Verb?


With Ebere Wabara

PAGE 2 BUSINESS of March 2 welcomes us today with inelegant phraseology: “…and a nation builder per (par) excellence.”
“Imo: End of road for Ihedioha” Voice of the nation: The end of the road for Ihedioha
“N400m up for grab (grabs) as Coca-Cola unveils ‘Under the Crown’ (‘Under-the-Crown’) EPL promo” (MARKETING MATTERS, March 4)
“Border closure opened our eyes to Nigeria’s potentials—Buhari” ‘Potential’ is uncountable.
“Court restrains resident doctors in ESUT Teaching Hospital from continuing strike action” Kindly delete ‘action’ in the interest of our sanity

“Ayade swears-in (swears in) Eneji as acting CJ”
“Celestial pastor, 2 others arrested over (for) murder in Lagos” (News around the city, March 2)
“Ebonyi community raises alarm (the alarm) over attack by suspected Benue militants”
“Available data shows (show) that the metering gap in the country remains high at about….” (DAILY Sun Editorial, March 2) Grammar: In everyday English, ‘data’ is usually followed by a singular verb. In academic or very formal English—like an editorial—a plural verb is used. When talking about one fact or a piece of information, you say ‘a piece of data’. Credit: Longman Advanced Dictionary of Contemporary English

From Politics & Power of the above edition comes the following headline injustice: “Supreme Court and concern over post judgement (sic) review” This way: post-judgment (please take judicial notice of the hyphen!) review
“Insecurity: We won’t deploy corps members to (in) volatile areas—Ibrahim, NYSC DG” (Source: as above)
“IPCR sensitises Nnewi residents on (to) peace, conflict resolution” (South-East News, March 2)
“NDDC: Diri, Dickson, group commend Buhari over (for/on) Pondel’s appointment”
“Climate change and fire outbreaks” Insight: just fires—there is no need for ‘outbreaks’ as fire will always break out no matter the inhibition once there is any form of ignition!

“Advocating for safe motherhood” (Your Voice, February 26) Delete
The next two blunders are from Politics & Power of February 26: “And what is (are) the police doing?”
“What are the strategy (strategies) they have to employ?”
“Encomiums for philantropist (philanthropist) as orphans, widows, youths get lifeline” (Oriental News, February 26)
“Police read riot act” Get it right: the riot act
“Buhari commissions (inaugurates) projects in Ondo, promises to invest in infrastructure”
“Nigeria at war, PDP raises alarm” This way: PDP raises/sounds the alarm
“Okogie seeks prayers, counsels (counsel) for Nigeria”
“Why FG awarded crude lifting (crude-lifting) contracts to indigenous firms, by minister” The incorrect extract implies that ‘crude is lifting contracts’!
“Lagos PDP wants Tinubu arrested over (for) utterances on 2023 polls”
“Police threaten to charge offenders over (with) inciting statements”
“Minister commissions (inaugurates) Abia eye centre”
“Calling off the Kano rally, therefore, would have been a wonderful symbolic gesture, (irrelevant comma) that would have spoken volume (volumes) to Nigerians….”
“…what the president is doing by his so-called unity rallies amounts to electioneering campaigns….” With ‘electioneering’, you do not need ‘campaigns’ as the word is embedded in ‘electioneering’.

“But one of the detectives demanded for a stool….” Delete ‘for’.
“…the battle over who should represent the oil rich (oil-rich) community….”
“The initiative, which has been scripted to tow (toe) the mode of the pilot run of cash-less (cashless) policy, would begin in Lagos, with no fewer than 1000 of the 1401 branch (1401-branch) network of the nation’s deposit money banks.”
“…and to establish strong institution (institutional) frameworks….”

“After the initial hiccups, construction has been flagged-off (flagged off) on the estate….”
“…but constitute a hindrance for (to) future expansion and other developmental purposes.”
“Let us join hands together and make Lagos a place of pride for all.” Take away ‘together’ in foreclosure of Elizabethan English!
“Sportlight (Spotlight) on outstanding furniture, marble, tiles and interior outfits”
“To discourage people from continuing with unhealthy practices of disposing (disposing of) their wastewater into drains, government needs to build sufficient waste water (wastewater) treatment (wastewater-treatment) plants….”
”…which is just in few (a few) months (months’) time….”

“NIA sensitises (sensitizes, preferably in line with modern trend) on (to) compensation, counsels against touting”
Still on THE GUARDIAN of March 3 under review: “…especially as the country grapple (grapples) with internal and external security threats.” “Obiano condoles (condoles with or simply consoles) … family, as Anambra mourns late star” Will the state mourn a living star? So, delete ‘late’!
“Obituary Announcement (delete ‘announcement’): The Management and Staff of the Petroleum Equalization Fund (Management) Board regret to announce the untimely passing (passing away) of its (their) staff….” An aside: is there any ‘timely death’?
DAILY INDEPENDENT of February 28 follows with the next set of solecisms: “…Obi said that participating in such solemn celebration (a solemn celebration or solemn celebrations reminds (reminded) the faithful about christians (sic)….”

“Benue first lady assures on peace” Who did the First Lady assure?
“I am going into this contest knowing fully (full) well that I am the only candidate….” Alternatively, knowing fully that….
The PUNCH of February 28 misled readers: “Boko Haram, an affront on (to) Nigerians”
“Card fraud: CBN issues deadline for (to) banks, others”
“Dangote Cement, LSBA collaborate on building collapse prevention” Get it right: building-collapse prevention
“It cannot repeat itself again.” (Nollywood sub-literacy, March 4) Delete ‘again’.
There is nothing like ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’! I grew up to meet this awkward expression which is still being used by a majority of writers/speakers. ‘Rubbish’ cannot be good or bad—‘rubbish’ is rubbish (garbage)! And ‘good riddance’ is somebody/something you are happy to miss: Good riddance to insurgency/terrorism. Good riddance to my lover/housewife! (Thanks to Femi, 08136788881, for provoking this profound thought). More constructive contributions are welcome.

Sunday PUNCH of March 1 lost its journalistic essence: “He discusses why he decided to float an online media (medium).”
THISDAY, THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER, March 1, abused the English language: “…even as the Lagos State Police Command keep (keeps) mum over the matter.”
“…the sixth country in (on) the continent.”
“VNL said attempts to play up religious or zonal sentiments in the state’s politics will (would) be counter-productive (counterproductive).”
“The South East’s vote of confidence on (in) Buhari”
“Confirming this, the presidency, yesterday, said that the Nigerian elite, irrespective of their political leanings, is (were)….”
“Dr. Doyin Okupe, the former SSA to ex-President Obasanjo on Public Affairs, in a telephone conversation, said ‘the responses of major stakeholders is (were) quite encouraging’….”

“…avoidable deaths from fire outbreaks from the two sources” Just fires—there is no need for ‘outbreaks’.
“…this kind of problem would not have arisen if religious sentiments have (had) not been exploited unnecessarily….”
“There is a (There’s) life changing (life-changing) power in the gospel”
“International Malaria Day 2020: Framing the Post 2021 (post-2021) Agenda”
THE NATION ON SUNDAY of March 1 harvested some misapprehensions: “The NUJ Ondo State Council has passed a vote of no confidence on (in) the state leadership of the NLC….”

“…perhaps the worst in Nigeria’s history, would be do-or-die.” (COMMENT) ‘Do or die’ is hyphenated only when used as an adjective: a do-or-die affair.
“…which literarily (literally) means….”
“My battle with career threatening ailment” Truth in defence of freedom: career-threatening ailment
“The Girls (Girls’) Club”
“Police arrest 51 over (for) robbery, rape, others”