Speak, Not Tell, Volumes


Media Gaffes With Ebere Wabara

“WORLD Teachers (Teachers’) Day: 12 states didn’t submit nominations for awards, says FG”
“…on this remarkable occasion of your 58 years Birthday (sic) anniversary.” Why not simply ‘58th birthday’ to avoid the inherent clumsiness?
“…the punishment include (includes) castration for male convicts and bilateral salpingectomy for female convicts.”
“Kaduna State has led (set) the pace in responding to a serious problem that requires drastic measures to curb.”
“I am proud of your landmark and unprecedented people oriented (people-oriented) achievements recorded during your eventfully (eventful) years as the governor of IMO (Imo) state. (sic)” What else would have been the focus of the purported achievements if not ‘people’?

“…your immense and valuable (you mean ‘invaluable’?) contribution to national issues on the floor of the senate tells volume (speaks volumes) of your believe (belief) in….”
“Your detribalised (detribalized, preferably) and philanthropic lifestyle is one to be envied as it cut (cuts) across all religion (religions) and tribes (ethnic groups—modern trend)
“Court orders re-arrangement (re-arraignment) of ex-AA national chair”
“Nigerian Business Founders (Founders’) Coalition send (sends) SOS to Buhari” (PAGE 2 BUSINESS, September 30)
“Court suspends Enugu panel of inquiry on (into) land”
“The Vice President (Vice-President—compound word), Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, recently made case (a case) for more investment (investments) in education.” The same principle applies to ‘vice-chancellor’ and other similarities.
“…the introduction of specialised technological trainings that will….” ‘Training’ is uncountable.
“…Nigeria is still a beautiful country with great potentials (potential or potentialities) for greatness.” Get it right for the umpteenth time: ‘potential’ is non-count.

“The yearnings for the special status for Lagos is (why?)….”
“The issue will continue to be a major source of concern for current and former leadership (leaderships) of Lagos.” (Politics & Power, September 30) An aside: what of ‘former and current leaderships’?
“The Dozzy Foundation on Health is yet another testament of (to) your selfless service to humanity.”
“The Foundation speaks volume (volumes) of your passion for the health and well being (well-being) of the downtrodden.”
“We pray that God in his (His) infinite goodness will grant you many more years and good health.”

“As we look forward to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, it is good for us to focus in (on) areas we have competitive advantage.”
“…both our male and female teams failed woefully (abysmally) to qualify….”
Finally, we take the last entry from the Editorial under review: “That is why smart nations do everything possible to maximize their potentials (potential or potentialities) in sports.” For the second time round, ‘potential’ is uncountable, unlike ‘potentiality’
“…the Supreme Court put to rest every other discussions.” (Politics & Power, September 29) Either every other discussion or all other discussions, depending on context
Wrong: “people-oriented government” Poser: is there any government that is beast-oriented or object-oriented? All governments—bad and good—are people-oriented.

“Incorporating ESG principles into job-creating businesses ensure (ensures) sustainable business operations….”
Some media professionals ignorantly use the phrase “armed bandits”. This extract will suffice: “The Zamfara State Government’s effort towards finding lasting solution to armed banditry and cattle rustlings suffered a setback as…” The dictionary defines a bandit as “a member of an armed gang that robs people”. It means a bandit is usually armed; therefore the word “armed” to qualify him is out of place. On the contrary, a robber is someone who “takes property from a person or place illegally”. A robber may or may not bear arms. If he does, he is an armed robber liable to the death penalty upon conviction. As we can see, the distinction between a robber (armed or unarmed) and a bandit is clear.

The nation’s premier independent radio station, RayPower, reported in the business segment of its Nigeria Today newscast last Thursday, October 1,
2020, that the country “SLIDED into recession…” Its editors and correspondents, and indeed media professionals, should note that SLID is both the past tense and past participle of SLIDE. It is not in the same word class as GLIDE and GLIDED.
“For the first time since the scandal broke, Senate, yesterday, admitted paying only N62.5 million to purchase a bullet-proof Range rover Sports Utility (Sport-Utility) Vehicle (SUV) for the office of its president.”
“Police arraign alleged fake lawyer in court” Where else would they have arraigned the buffoon? Yank off ‘in court’!
“2 jailed 4 years over (for) rape”

“The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your (our) children.”
“We rejoice with you on your 65 (65th) birthday….”
“Not only do we rejoice with the celebrant (celebrator) for partaking in abundant grace….”
“He will grant you strenght (strength), good health and wisdom.”
“…as you strive to contribute your quota in (to) building a more vibrant democracy for the benefit of our dear country.”
“With people (a person) like you working with our dear president and other patriotic Nigerians….”
“Ondo governorship poll may be riddled with so much (many) underhand deals and sharp practices.” What is the difference between ‘underhand deals’ and ‘sharp practices’? The latter should subsume the former! An aside: ‘much’ instead of ‘many’?
“In doing so (a coma) some of the government’s supporters may certainly have overstepped the bound of propriety….” From the other side: the bounds of propriety.
“Reactions to this position have been pouring in, and it’s highly elating that most share same position.” This way: most share the same position.

October 1, 2020, Independence Anniversary: “Majority of Nigerians are of the opinion that a country roundly blessed has no business tottering at the brink of disintegration and collapse.” A/the majority of Nigerians….
“A court ruled affirming zoning but paradoxically dismissing Atiku’s suite.” ONE WEEK of big men and small men: simply Atiku’s suit.
“Baring few skirmishes which regrettably led to the death of four persons….” An anatomy of the season of linguistic violence: there is a world of distinction between ‘a few’ (which correctly applies here) and ‘few’, which connotatively suggests an expectation of more skirmishes—except if the writer has a weird denotative inclination towards potentialities for more skirmishes! Otherwise, the extract is lexically absurd because of his regret.

“Just imagine a young man that rounded up his apprenticeship as a welder.” This is an indication of the current malaise in scholarship: a situation where a lecturer cannot distinguish between phrasal verbs, ‘round up’ and ‘round off’ (which applies here).
“Will anybody please let us know which country became a super-power by allowing its best brains to roam about the world?” ‘Roam’ encompasses ‘about’.
“News from the universities are no longer about innovation.…” News is news (uncountable).
“The condition, which is said to be due to an abnormality in either the number or structure of the chromosomes, cuts across every races.” Get it right: every race or all races.
“Janet, a twelve-year-old and the third child of her parents’ four offsprings and the only one with the problem…” ‘Offspring’ is non-count.

“Since 1993, funding of oil exploration have (has) been beset by different levels of problems.”
“In answering this question we classify the outcomes into long term and short term implications.” The greatest problem of journalists: unnecessary embellishment (outcome) of words.
“This is clearly a danger signal as the time between discovering an oil field and commercially putting it on stream could be between four to five years.” No analysis: between four and five or from four to five years.
“THISDAY checks reveal that every termination penalties goes from 500,000 US dollars to 2 million US dollars”. Check the discord as already discussed above.

“Lack of funds cripple waste management activities” Another error of attraction: Lack of funds cripples.
“Nevertheless, the donor country is also interested in this decision to ensure that the loan is repaid as at when due with its accrued interest.” Without any periscope: the loan is repaid when due (not as at when due which is pleonastic).
“Government should consider the destructive effect that further delay in the sale of ‘shaky’ banks would mete out on the banking system”. Stock phrase: mete out to (not on) the banking system.

“If the family cannot truely relish at least a decent meat….” Spelling counts: truly.
“A man does not have to be a money bag (sic) before he can dress well and look charming in his own little way.” Brighten up your English usage: A man does not have to be moneybags…. Moneybag is a sac!
“…in addition, (sic) to dispensing drugs for immediate relief and giving counsel on the steps necessary to prevent a reoccurrence.” Good grammar: recurrence.

“…it sent the signal that those responsible for the security of lives and properties in Oyo State are working at cross-purposes”. Some caution, please: life and property.
“The arsonists usually escape with their loot as the embattled market lays in ashes, leaving many traders terminally ruined financially.” There should be no dilemma: ‘lays’ for ‘lies’?