Standard-bearer, not ‘Flag bearer’


“THE 4 (four) Nigerian flagbearers (standard-bearers) in Tokyo, Japan….”

“Governors biting more than they can chew” A rewrite: Governors biting off more than they can chew

A subscriber to this column sent a message to me last weekend on the correctness of “wake” and “wake-keep”. There are no such words as “wake-keeping” and “wake-keep”. The right expression is “wake.” Virtually all funeral announcements in this part of the world disseminate this blunder in blissful flamboyance. And for clarity or emphasis: Christian wake.

“He is frank to the point of recklessness and does not bath (bat) an eyelid about sensibilities.”

“Successful candidates in the exam are placed into (in) universities depending on their performances and choices.”

“The picture one is likely to get is that of lawmakers yet to come to grip (grips) with the seriousness of what their duties entail.”

“Both palatable and heart-rending news are (is) most often broken there.” ‘News’ is uncountable.

“…his skin must have toughen (you mean toughened?) such that nothing can stir his emotion as to make him cry.”

“They were, in their primes (prime), sent on a journey from which nobody returns.”

“Its police, too, began investigations culminating into (in) arrest of some suspects.”

“Since last week Tuesday….” Either last Tuesday or Tuesday, last week—‘Last week Tuesday’ indicates lexical ignorance.

“…our politicians should realise that if they can hold the country into (to) ransom for their jumbo pay, then footballers should not be blamed if they do same (the same).”

“In Nigeria, it was designed by the military dictators as bait to divert the attention of the people from the enormity of their loots.” No questions: ‘loot’ is non-count.

“…it was seen as a child of necessity aimed at restoring the primary education sub- sector which was in crisis then back to a sound foundation.” Scrap ‘back’ to avoid being charged with word abuse. ‘Restoration’ has taken care of the verbiage.

“All that we have in the present Nigerian society is an hostile (a hostile) environment for the youths and children.” Either youths (without the article ‘the’) or the youth

“Having succeeded in intimidating their opponents at primaries, the electorate became a work-over….” A time to learn: walk-over.

“A nearby police station in Benin has (had) rebuffed the request for a police report on the ground of jurisdiction.” Simply put: on grounds of jurisdiction.

“Anyone who monitored the mobilization of women in the last fifteen years in Nigeria could imagine positive results that could have been achieved if the First Ladies have (had) been sincere.”

“We do not have to wait for this sporadic attacks by foreign armed bandits to metamorphose into a full blown (a hyphen, please) security threat.” Why the discord (this attacks)? And, of course, banditry without arms: vide a standard dictionary.

“Because of an improved revenue base, the governor said that the government is (was) in a good position….”

“What stops us from returning to the heydays (heyday) of the school…?”

“This does not mean that a lady should not be congratulated for (on/upon) a safe delivery.”

“…many of the specie (species) had run amuck simply on the suspicion that another woman is (was) nipping at the apple.”

“Industry players blamed the high cost of borrowing from the money market to (on) a number of factors.”

“It is high time we make (made) such people pay….”

“…especially with regards to human development” This way: as regards or with regard to.

“…as the North would be placed on an even keel or competing favourably with their kiths and kin in the South.” Fixed expression: kith and kin

“Tears of instability of power has (have) caused many Nigerians to turn their attention to alternative sources of power supply.”

“The most cheering news item in recent times is the marching order given to the NPF….” Stock phrase: marching orders.

“The police strenght is inadequate to cope with the security of a large population of 150 million Nigerians.” Spell-check: strength. Similarly: straight.

“News from reliable sources tend (tends) to portray a government tendency itching (do you mean inching?) towards sustenance.…”

“Ex-head of states, who have cracked and liquidated the nation’s coffers are to be paid or are receiving N350,000 every month.” Building a new nation: Ex-heads of state who had (not have)….

“Vocational equipments, basic infrastructures and qualified personnels must be given priority in our scheme of things.” Uncountable words: equipment and personnel.

“The news of the death of…via a ghastly motor accident recently came as a rude shock to us.” Advert condolence: fatal (not ghastly) motor accident. Beyond the correction, since the man died, there was no need for the inclusion of the mode of mishap. Simply a motor accident: got the point?

“But suffice it to say that those rooting to unseat a recalcitrant lawmaker should be abreast with (of) the legal bottleneck rather than arm-twisting.”

“It is very easy for a moneybag (sic) who (that) has….” ‘Moneybags’ (plural unchanged) (especially informal and derogatory) is a rich person. (Source: OXFORD Advanced Learner’s DICTIONARY) ‘Moneybag’ is a bag for containing money.

From the Archives

THE first set of blunders in this novel segment comes from The PUNCH of June 30, 2020, beginning from its editorial: “Two people, the BBC says, have been arrested over (for) the incident and….”

“Don’t let Igbo resort to self-help—Ohaneze faction leader” Another view: factional leader

“The review is to ensure a service reflective (service-reflective) tariff that will enable Eko Electricity attains (attain) the required….” (Full-page public notice by Eko Electricity Distribution Company, The PUNCH, June 30, 2020)

“Hearty cheers on your 70” (Full-page congratulatory advertorial by Fidelity Bank PLC, The PUNCH, June 30) Get it right: 70th Birthday—‘70th’ is adjectival and cannot function as a stand-alone.

“We use motor jack to open burglary proof installed in homes, offices—suspect” (News around the city, July 1, 2020) Crime, court & living: burglar-proof

N60m up for grab (grabs) as NB flags-off (flags off) 2020 Maltina teacher award” (NATIONAL NEWS, July 1, 2020) This way: Maltina Teacher Award

“Ndigbo in Lagos APC appoints (appoint) executive” (Source: as above)

The next two faults are contained in a public notice by the EFCC: “The public is hereby notified that the persons whose photographs appears (sic) below are wanted by the EFCC.” The challenge with templates and associated slothfulness: Just one man and his picture are involved, but vide the faux pas-ridden text!

Yet another cliché from the EFCC bag of flaws: “Anybody with useful information as to her whereabouts should please contact….” Would it have been useless information? I am just curious!


I am a regular reader of your column. It lifts me. I want you to put this across to writers: Igbo language does not admit ‘s’ in plural formation. To say ‘Igbos’ is neither Igbo nor English.

Barrister Ikedi E. Chukwu, Mbano, Imo State (08037891800)


I have asserted this etymological standpoint copiously over the years! Reading habit is very poor in this part of the world largely because of all manner of developmental challenges. This drawback, of course, affects intellectual exploration and acquisition/regeneration hence the constancy of grammatical blunders, among other retrogressive throw-ups which confront us.

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