‘Platter of Gold’ Incorrect

Media Gaffes with Ebere Wabara

DO you know that, in modern English these days ‘between two’ or ‘between three’ is now allowed unlike in the past when the latter was a sacrilege?
Note well: ‘witch-hunting’ is a noun and also an adjective.
‘Broad consensus’ is acceptable while ‘general consensus’ indicates half-literacy!
In Germany, according to the late Bayo Oguntuase, my beloved teacher, a drink-place is called ‘beer garden’. ‘Beer parlour’—which is Regionalized English—is the local fad in Nigeria. The formal/standard (universal) entry is ‘pub’ with variants like ‘tavern’, ‘bar’ and ‘saloon’ (also ‘saloon bar’ or ‘lounge bar’). Please it is never ‘salon’, which is another thing entirely.

An observation: ‘flag off’ (phrasal verb) is informal English!
It should interest you to grasp that ‘strike action’ is incorrect. The right expression is simply ‘strike’ or ‘industrial strike’. Of course, we equally have ‘work stoppage’, ‘industrial action’ and ‘sit-down’ or ‘sit-at-home’ strike/protest.
Are you aware that ‘confab’ is very old-fashioned for ‘conference’?
Wrong: on a platter of gold

Right: on a silver platter
“…in their various constituencies to synthesise (synthesize, preferably) grass root (sic) opinions on this all important (all-important) project.” Not my view: grassroots opinions….
“In many respect (respects) it is out of tune with modern reality….”
“Nigeria has never degenerated to (into) this level, security wise.”
“That is why the state governments need to be given the impetus to pool their wisdom and resources together….” Delete the last word in the extract.

“…the states and local governments sufficiently financially empowered to take care of its (their) responsibilities.” There should be a conjunction between ‘sufficiently’ and ‘financially’.
The next two lexical frauds are from the Editorial of one of the newspapers under review today: “The minister exposed the shock find during an official visit to PHCN’s facilities in (on) the premises of the….”

“…contributed to PHCN’s woeful (abysmal) failure to provide regular electricity supply to the nation”
Still on the recurring pool of grammatical disasters: “The minister had, on Tuesday, drew (drawn) the ire of workers by arguing that….”
“…the federal government must embark on some cost saving (cost-saving measures….”
“His arguments on the introduction of N5,000 notes was (were)….”
“FG to sanction DISCOs over over-billing of customers” A rewrite: “FG to sanction DISCOs for overbilling customers”

“Teachers employed by the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) to complement….”Education Today: Parent-Teacher Association (PTA),,,,
“CANNU donates to flood relief (flood-relief) fund”
“Eduwatch gathers students, scholars together” Yank off the last word in the excerpt.
“Geepee proudly introduces world class (world-class) multilayer (multi-layer) composite panels…no painting, no maintainence” Bloated pride: maintenance!
THE GUARDIAN Opinion Page of January 6 circulated two improprieties: “With preparations in top gear, and barring any last minute (last-minute) hitches….”
“The final death nail (sic) came with the present political dispensation that began in 2000 that paid lip-service to governance.” Get it right: death knell or just knell. There is nothing like ‘final death nail’!

“If the Abia PDP stalwarts have forgotten, we will gladly remind them that candidates who stand for elections under (on) the platform (platforms) of political parties….”
“Kaduna gears up for LG polls amidst (amid) fears of violence”
“Records show that their actions and inactions, in the past, have (had) contributed in (to)….”
“Non-partisan intelligence driven mechanism panacea to Boko Haram” A rewrite: “Non-partisan, intelligence-driven mechanism, panacea to Boko Haram
“The elders also said they are (were) in support of the probe of alleged missing….”
“Therefore, it behooves on our sports authorities to rise up to the occasion and restore the country’s lost glory in (to) many of the sports….”

RE: Which one: ‘celebrant’ or ‘celebrator’? Shorthand is phonetical. Some of us did shorthand and also taught it. In shorthand dictation and/or transcription, one should be sure which—British or American English! We find out even though Nigerians are basically pro-British, their pronunciations are majorly pro-American. Shorthand writers are usually advised to adopt British English because of implications to writing and transcription. The foregoing is indicative there are points of difference between British and American English. So, let us not confuse issues. Reference to the words, ‘celebrant’ and ‘celebrator’: It should be pointed out that they are not the same in British English. For instance, someone celebrating something e.g. a party is a celebrator. The Catholic priest celebrating Mass is a celebrant. In a wedding Mass, the priest is the celebrant while the couple constitutes the celebrators.
Prof. A. Ugwu Obayi/08068861837

CONTRARY to Sunny Agbontaen’s opinion on the effective use of the word, ‘celebrator’, I think ‘celebrator’ is more appropriate in this our clime. Nigeria was colonized by the Britons and, as such, we ought to speak the Queen’s English without adulteration of any kind. It is totally unethical of any individual to combine the American English with that of the Britons in a formal speech or an article. The use of the word, ‘celebrant’, is unacceptable in our learning society.
Itoro Esq., Uyo/09067592524

IF the late Pa Bayo Oguntuase, the English language guru, will hear that some Nigerian journalists are still hyphenating phrasal verbs, committing a blunder like ‘point accusing finger’, a solecism like ‘reoccur’, a pleonasm like ‘return back’, he will weep in his grave because he had corrected all these errors over and over again. Thank God you have stepped into his shoes and you are doing creditably. More power to your elbow and may God bless you.
Osabenyi Onefeli/08066227593

WORTHY brother, latest editions of Oxford and Longman dictionaries say: ‘clap in prison/jail/irons’—not ‘clamp…into jail’. Can ‘clamp’ and ‘clap’ be used interchangeably in the context?
Dr. Stanley Nduagu/Aba/08062925996

COLUMNIST’S RESPONSE: Both words cannot be used interchangeably. One of the meanings of ‘clamp’, according to Longman’s Dictionary of Contemporary English, 7th Edition, for Advanced Learners, is: ‘to put limits on what someone is allowed to do’—which, by contextual extrapolation, is sheer imprisonment which informed my usage of it. ‘Clamping someone into jail’ is indicative of all manner of restrictions and sanctions, after due judicial processes, usually.
‘Clapping somebody in prison/jail/irons’ is merely literary and has an element of suddenness—it is not as deep and legalistic as ‘clamping someone into jail’.

DEAR contributors, I prefer that messages are sent to me via my email portal—not SMS—except they are not for publication. Thank you all for your usually cerebral interventions. Once more, Happy New Year!

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