EXPRESSION BY Ebere Wabara
“ARMED robbers again jolted the commercial city of Lagos last week Friday (last Friday/Last Friday week or on Friday, last week).”
“Students write exams half naked (half-dressed/half clothed/half covered or half clad, or naked/bare to the waist).”
“I stood up, took another coin out of my pocket and put it near my half–empty (half–full) beer glass.” Special note: in editorial English, we say or write: half clothed/half covered/half-dressed/half clad (‘clad’ is obsolete as a participle) naked or bare to the waist or clothed from the waist down or naked/bare, or fully dressed: half-full (not half-empty); semi-literate/half or sub-literate/half lettered (not semi illiterate); half sighted (not half blind); half alive (not half dead); employment problem or unemployment (not unemployment problem).
Unlike other intellectual leaders of Nigerian progressive movement, such as Professors Ikenna Nzimiro, Eskor Toyo, Akin Oyebode, G.G. Darah, Doctors Edwin Madunagu, Ola Oni, Segun Osoba, O. Onoge, Bala Usman, Dr. Tunji Otegbeye is not an “academician” (academic) in a formal sense. Special note: ‘an academician’ is not synonymous with ‘an academic’ just as ‘presently’ is not synonymous with ‘at present.’ ‘Presently’ always means SOON and ‘at present’ always means NOW. Another note: an academician is somebody who works in or is a member of an academy—for instance, the Nigerian Defence Academy, the French Academy or the Russian Academy. It does not mean the same thing as a university don/guru/intellectual or scholar—such a person is called an academic. Its plural is academics.
The PUNCH of November 9 blundered: “Police deploys (deploy) 19,000 officers for games”
Next on the itinerary is Rutam House. THE Guardian of November 7 from its window to the inside pages misprinted both editorial and advertorial entries to the point that this columnist lost count: “Let it be a time to re-examine our consciences and tell ourselves (one another) the truth.”
“Between 180,000 to 200,000 barrels of crude oil….” The worsening crude oil theft: Between…and—not ‘to.’
“How skill acquisition, entrepreneurship impacts (impact on/upon) national development”
“Poor budget implementation: A drawback on (of/to) national development”
“Notice of court ordered meeting of FCMB PLC. (This full stop is useless here)” And this: court-ordered meeting….
Still on THE GUARDIAN: “Non DStv (Non-DStv) subscribers get 3 months (months’) free subscription with every devices (device) purchased.” Which agency wrote this poor copy?
“In our pursuit of better ways to make our renown (renowned) products available to more Nigerians….” (Half-page advertisement by CWAY Food and Beverages Limited) ‘Renown’ is a noun—it is its adjectival form that is required here. An example: Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi has won international renown as a prudent leader.
“Public analysts to begin post market (post-market) surveillance”
“Samsung Smart Care: Africa’s first 24 month (24-month) warranty” ROSABEL Leo Burnet take note. “Minister decries Nigerians (Nigerians’) low participation in ICT” “APC’s dangerous precedence” (THISDAY, November 3) For the editor’s attention: precedent.
From the archives because of its contemporariness: “The family of…announces with deep sorrow but gratitude to Almighty God the death of our son…following a ghastly road accident….” My sympathies quite all right, but the English language cannot die: a fatal (not ghastly) vehicular accident. And for the second time round, ‘sorrow but gratitude to Almighty God’ cannot—and will never as long as there are seed time and harvest time—co-function in any circumstance. What is amiss with our spirituality? Our God does not inhabit in sorrowful environments. So, as His children, let us give thanks to Him in all situations. He knows best why tragedies befall us. Even in the face of fatalities, write obituaries or related issues with cheerfulness/joy/happiness/satisfaction/angelic punctuation/heavenly intervention…and (not but) gratitude to God, we….Sounds eschatological? Reactions are welcome to this lexico-spiritual intellectualization of Christianity. I insist that this is a contradictory and blasphemous obituary!
Latest reaction to the above entry from Mr. Eniola Bello, the Managing Director of ThisDay Newspapers: “Deep sorrow and gratitude…may appear contradictory but I see no reason why they cannot co-function. You cannot take language use from its cultural and religious environment. The contentious phrase has nothing to do with where God inhabits. It is more about the impact of a tragedy and the acceptance of the unchangeable. Where on earth will anybody announce the death of a loved one with joy? The sorrow is for the loss; the gratitude for the life lived and in keeping with God’s commandment to give thanks in good or bad times. There is no reason why both cannot go together. I say it’s paradoxical.” Dear reader, you are welcome to the debate!
“Adamawa PDP support (supports) dissolution of exco”
“Is it odd when a lady ties the nuptial with a younger dude?” Digest: nuptial (adjective); nuptials (noun) which applies here.
“Fast food donates relief materials to Bayelsa Flood victims” Impossible! Get it right: Fast food company/outlet/centre/enterprise/organization/establishment/institution donates….
“Armed robbery: How equipped is (are) the Nigeria Police?”
“The fast growing (fast-growing) food organization also appealed to….”
Going back to yesteryear: “Aborted Arik Air crash, NCAA assures Nigerians of safety” I hope some journalists would not write themselves into trouble: the crash was averted, not aborted! Except if there was a plan (conception) to crash a plane belonging to Arik Air which was later aborted—a most unlikely development!
“Energy: PHCN launches energy saving bulbs” Is this ignorance or carelessness? Energy-saving bulbs
Wrong: I am yet to see the man; Right: I have yet to see the man. “Followership” (Followers); “Till now” (Up until now); “Vandalization” (Vandalism)—this paragraph was contributed by 08055216398.
“Non oil exporters task govt on favourable policies” Communication is serious business: Non-oil exporters….
“Stakeholders call for integrated policy in aviation the sector” Just yank away the article (the).
Finally from Nigerian Pilot under our purview: “Four die as shopping mall collapse (collapses)” This is hoping that the Nigerian Pilot does not crash-land at the rate it is going!
“We most certainly have not heard the last about the governor’s convoy crash and the woes and blood it left in (on) its trail.”
“…the huge confidence reposed on (in) them by the populace.”
“They are the products of what some people did or did not do over a period of time but whose climatic effect culminated into (in a) catastrophe.”
“But, while the former governor may have been a rebel among the army of Jonathan’s political faithfuls.…” Sylva—a rebel without a strategy: political faithful (not faithfuls).
“He stuck to his gun (guns) and propped himself up as one of the candidates in the election.”