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Media Gaffes By Ebere Wabara
MY bank and our wives: “In her response to series (a series) of publications alleging that….”
“…Hauwa said there was no reason for her to seek for divorce or to pack (move) out of her matrimonial home.” The paternity question: seek divorce
“NAFDAC yesterday said it has (had) reports of the importation of fake COVID-19 vaccines into Nigeria.”
“Police burst kidnappers (kidnappers’) den in Kano, arrest 5 suspects”
“The governor said the state has (had) set up a four-man committee led by….”
“14 die in Kogi ghastly (fatal) auto crash” (THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER, January 16)
“Critically acclaimed movie…which made the rounds in 2020 with its long list of award recognitions, was officially screened to a coterie of guests in Lagos recently.” Get it right: ‘recognition’ is uncountable.
“LG chairmen pass vote of confidence on (in) Kwara APC Chairman”
DAILY Sun COMMENT of January 3 circulated five blunders: “We are glad that the police has (have) recognized terrorism as a menace that calls for special training of its (their) officers.”
“Care must be taken, however, to ensure that the need for specialized training on terrorism for officers and men of the security agencies are not turned into avenue (an avenue) to line up (for lining up) the pockets of top officials of the agencies.” The most critical aspect of the foregoing extract: Care must be taken, however, to ensure that the need for…is (not are)….
Let us visit Vanguard of January 9: “The state, therefore, does not deserve the treatment being currently meted to it”. Fixed expression: meted out (to). And this: ‘being’ and ‘currently’ cannot co-function.
“Chief of Naval Staff advocates for increased productivity via industrialization” What a wordy head! When used as a verb, ‘advocate’ does not admit ‘for’. Let us economize words, especially in headline casting: Naval Chief advocates increased productivity.
“For the university to recommend that students should pay for the damages while they have.…” A recurring error: except in legalese, ‘damage’ cannot be pluralized. (Daily Independent, January 8)
“… rather than investigating and finding out who were involved and check against future re-occurrence: Beyond recurrence (not reoccurrence), can an event yet to take place happen in the past?
“…the university is pointing its accusing fingers in the direction of the lecturers.” Correct expression: point a/the finger.
“…the AU summiteers concentrated almost exclusive (sic) on the political independence and liberation of countries in the continent.” (Daily Trust, January 8) In the interest of African Unity: on the continent.
“Monday’s action, which started at dawn, was as a result of the break-down of series of negotiations…” An agendum: a series of.
“According to the source, the institution has a very high percentage of failure in the last academic year.” Reported speech: the institution had (not has).
“…that the authorities of the institution was (were) still waiting the result of the police analysis of the bomb”.
“…in the next three years, its per capital income would have….” This way: per capita income.
THE GUARDIAN on Sunday of January 17 disseminated dozens of blunders: “The home of the chairman…was vandalized and most of his properties littered outside. “ No chaos: most of his property.
“So how come that (why is it that) Mr.…. who was vehemently criticized by our sports writers during his coaching days with our Super Eagles has now warmed his way into the hearts of these same people…” In the spirit of sportsmanship and lexical sanity, let us replace ‘warmed’ with ‘wormed’.
THISDAY of January 9 embarrassingly went down with copious solecisms: “But experts have pointed that the inflation rate….” Contextually, the phrasal verb that applies here is ‘pointed out’… and not just the verb ‘pointed’ which means another thing entirely. Additionally, phrasal verbs do not tolerate hyphens.
“In his six-page address paying glowing tribute (tributes) and homage to former electoral boss late Abel Guobadia….” The late Abel Guobadia….
‘Nigeria Breweries Poise for Better Future Performance’—the alcoholic beverage firm is poised (not poise) for … An aside: ‘debut’ cannot function as a verb in any form. It is a noun.
“Furthermore, the conduct of officials and the general logistical support for the just-concluded voter registration were unprecedented in the annals of our nation’s history.” ‘Annals of history’ is simply tautological. Just employ any of the variants. Both cannot be used in the same context.
“Despite the Moslem-Moslem ticket which he and his vice-presidential candidate held, majority of Christians across the country still rallied in their favour.” No protest in the build-up to the next general elections coming up in 2023: a majority of Christians.
“In fact, nobody needs to go far in our contemporary world to find such helplessly troubled spots because they abound everywhere, in virtually all parts of the globe.” Morphology in turmoil: trouble spots, please.
“The eventual failure of many of such drugs have not discouraged fresh attempts at inventing more effective ones.” The battle against discord continues: The failure…of drugs has (not have).
“The heavy downpour most of last year has made the price of perishable commodities in the market to come down due to low patronage by consumers.” ‘Downpour’ does not require amplification (heavy) because of inherence. And ‘patronage’ is usually by consumers or their proxies. So, ‘by consumers’ is otiose.
This next paragraph is repeated because of the persistent committal of the infraction. This column will not address it again.
“Of all the first generation (a hyphen, please) universities, OAU is arguably the one that was able to preserve its known ideology for the longest.” I do not agree with the usage of “arguably” by a majority of Nigerian writers. The explanation I got from one of the country’s frontline editors recently was not convincing: when you have points to justify your claims, it becomes arguable and when there are no justifications, you employ “unarguably.” If you are sure of your statement, make it declarative by jettisoning “arguably.” And if you are unsure, do not make claims. If you do, be ready to argue it elsewhere when confronted (not in your contribution). For the avoidance of doubt, “arguable” (adjective) and its adverb (arguably) mean: ”…for which good, if not necessarily convincing, reasons may be found/open to doubt/not certainly, but reasonably held to be.” (Source: THE NEW LEXICON WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, 2018) My grouse about this illogical excerpt is the intrinsic and quite avoidable element of doubt.