Take, Not ‘Pick’, Calls

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Media Gaffes

By With Ebere Wabara

OVERHEARD for the umpteenth time: “I called you yesterday—you did not pick my call….” Get it right: you take—not pick—calls, please!

THE NATION ON SUNDAY of August 16 welcomes us today: “EKSU plans hostels for students…reads riot acts to lecturers” This way: the riot act.

“AISAN commends NAMA management over (for/on) automation”
“‘Hit and run’ driver kills soldier in Kaduna” Get it right: Hit-and-run driver…

“…let us not deceive ourselves, let’s look at ourselves, face ourselves (one another) and tell ourselves (one another) the truth….”

“…Ihedioha in an interview with a select journalists….” Why the dissonance?
“…what is happening in Nigeria today and indeed Africa is not in our characters (character).”

“Young people have a role in not only demanding for good and better governance….” Delete ‘for’.

“…reports on the significant (significance) of the projects.”

Leadership of August 10 disseminated two infantile goofs: “Unknown gunmen kidnap businessman in A’Ibom” When will Nigerian journalists desist from using this cliché: ‘unknown gunmen’? Just say, ‘gunmen’! How do you know the gunmen?

“Dear subscribers, we are please to inform you that….” Enjoy this: I am pleased (take note) to inform you that reactions to this column are welcome.

“Kindly tune in for your viewing pleasure” Learn and relax: tune in to your viewing pleasure.

“Why spend 6 years for a 4 year course?” Electioneering: 4-year course. Punctuation marks mean so much in communication, most especially when the issue is scholarship.

Vanguard of August 8 deserves a query for this slipshoddiness: “Apparently disturbed by the spate of armed robbery in Lagos State, the IGP….” Yellow card: spate of armed robberies.

The next farcical line is from DAILY INDEPENDENT of August 8: “…that over six million people in Nigeria have been affected by glaucoma, which is the second leading cause of blindness in the continent of Africa.” World Glaucoma Week: on the continent of Africa.

“To diffuse tension, Cottone says, discuss money and expectations up front (everything from paying rent to doing chores).” (THE GUARDIAN, August 2) There is a world of difference between ‘defuse’, which should apply here, and ‘diffuse’ (which means another thing entirely)!

“2023 Polls: We won’t use lethal weapons, says Police” (Vanguard, August 4) Towards a better life for the people: say Police
“Antidote for Disfigured Emotions” (THE GUARDIAN, August 4) Antidote to solecisms: pursuit after perfection

“Customs seize smuggled vehicles with Buhari licence plates” (Leadership, August 4) I do not understand this subject-verb disagreement (S-VD) which always affects the Nigerian Customs Service (Customs for short). Customs seizes…and number-plates (not licence plates).

“He saw no difficulty in re-establishing cordial relations again.” (DAILY SUN, August 9) Millennium wisdom: delete the last word in the extract.

“The corrupt politician was received from Kirikiri Maximum Prisons with celebration, pomp and pageantry.” Get it right: pomp and ceremony, pomp and circumstance or just pomp.

“Yet these were the heydays of the Cold War but he remained fixed to his ideas, never intimidated by the West nor frightened by the East.” Remembering Julius Nyerere: heyday (uncountable)

THE NATION of August 9 played politics with the English language on two occasions: “He says he was merely fulfilling a promise he made during his electioneering campaigns.” Zamfara of yore: get a good dictionary and thereafter take away ‘campaigns’, which is encapsulated in ‘electioneering’.

“…the fire can, and often does, turn into a mighty conflagration capable of destroying and consuming all that it meets on the way.” You can now see why we need standard reference books: is there a small conflagration? This inexplicable abuse of words must stop.

“His reasons bordered on a personal aversion for (to) idiocy” (Source: as above)
“…their counsels and the judge so that people are not….” This way: ‘counsel’ is uncountable.

“What is (are) the police doing to investigate the case?” (Vanguard, August 11)
“Who is paying the piper, dictating (calling) the tunes of the graffiti on the walls (sic)?” (THISDAY, August 11)

“Under normal circumstances, either of these two men can represent….” (Vanguard, August 9) By the way: either cannot imply any other thing beyond ‘two’. So, avoid lexical blackmail.

“We need people of unalloyed intergrity in positions of trust.” (BUSINESSDAY, August 11) Spell-check: integrity.

“Abia State has remained one splitted (split) entity that cannot move forward.” (National News, May 11)

“Though this dichotomy has endured for quite sometime now….” (DAILY TRUST, August 11) Politics today: some time (distinct from sometime).

“The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have persistently called attention to….” (The Nigerian Economist, May 10) The union…has (not have).

“If after having being duely (duly) informed of.…”

“True, the treatment meted to (meted out to) detainees and ex-convicts, especially politicians like the recently released ‘Lagos boy’, depends, to a great extent, on the financial or social status of the prisoner.”

“If what the campaigners are doing is allowed to succeed, precedence (a precedent) would have been set.”

“…he had always shy (shied) away from politics but always manage (managed) to find himself in politics.”

“I think us poor Nigerians that only has (have) the rough edged (a hyphen) stick to hold at times like this….” Task forces as solution: a time like this or at times like these.

THE GUARDIAN of August 9 offered two unpardonable and extremely vexatious gaffes. “To round up the visit was the trip to the New Place, the site of the house where Shakespeare died. “ Get it right: round off (not round up).

”…the production was heavily spiced with new innovations which, however, still retained its original flavours.” ‘New innovations’ sounds illogical. An innovation cannot be old, relatively speaking. What do you think?

“What was the platform in which the cold war….” The platform on which the cold war.…

“Lack of towing vehicles hinder (hinders) FRSC operations”