THE PUNCH of December 21 bungled three headlines: “Boko Haram: Police tightens (tighten) security in Kano”

“NCAA re-opens (reopens) Bebi Airstrip as Bauchi remains closed” No hyphenation in phrasal verb application.

“Ensure accident free (accident-free) yuletide, FRSC urges men, motorists”

“Nigerian charged over (with) Heathrow cocaine seizure” (DAILY TRUST, December 21)

“…some armed soldiers stormed the estate on Friday and started marking houses for demolishing (demolition).” (Source: as above)

THISDAY COMMENT of December 20 blissfully ignored the subject-verb principle: “…the massive presence of road blocks (sic) which have (has) become….” The proximity of ‘roadblocks’ to the verbal component is responsible for this tragedy!

“Electoral appeals must be disposed off (of) within sixty days” (THISDAY LAW REPORT, December 20)

“Ten years after should serve as a reminder that the country is worse off than it was ten years ago, when most of us look (looked) up to Uncle Bola Ige for guidance and leadership….” 

“Another milestone in the annal of our democracy” (THE NATION, December 19) This way: annals or history.

“One of the intriguing puzzle (puzzles) emerged from the testimony of….” (THE NATION EDITORIAL, December 19)

In dishonour of Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, GCON: “Another feather to your cap” (From all of us in the Presidency, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Full Page Congratulatory Advert) A rewrite: Another feather in your cap.

“Lack of security worries bankers in Ogun” (THE NATION ON SUNDAY, December 19) Why the verbosity? Insecurity worries bankers in Ogun. Verbiage vitiates copies.

The next set of errors is from DAILY INDEPENDENT of December 16: “Amaechi condoles boat mishap victims’ families” Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi condoled with boat mishap victims’ families. If you want to avoid the usage of this phrasal verb, you could employ ‘console’.

“If I may ask, when is Nigeria going to be matured (mature), 61 years after independence.”

“…it’s just political harrasment.” Spell-check: harassment. Even my laptop did an automatic spell-check on this! This confirms the age-long slipshoddiness in media language application! Do you still recollect the alibi called ‘printer’s devil’ (a cover-up for tardiness in newspapering/printing)?

“It shows that there are still judges that can restore confidence in (to) the judiciary.”

“It was political victimization but Asiwaju is bigger than such gimmick.” Still on the triumph: such a gimmick.

DAILY TRUST of December 16 goofed: “The Guardian staff pay last respect to…” The fact: last respects.

DAILY INDEPENDENT of December 15 issued a school-boy howler on its Front Page: “SSS seizes vessels with conterminated food” Spell-check: contaminated.

Next on our line-up is DAILY TRUST of December 15 which gave room for distrust twice: “Lawmakers pass vote of confidence on (in) Imo Speaker”

“…there is bound to be another internal crises.” Education: crisis (singular); crises (plural)

“Olympians converge in (on) Lagos for JK Randle”

“Pensioners’ union threaten (threatens) to picket MDAs”

“Cross River commits N200m on (to) HIV/AIDS kits”

“Lagos NBA executive would do better if they could borrow a leaf from….” Law: take a leaf from….

“They lick the buttocks of society money-bags just for a mess of….” Get it right: society’s money-bags.

“Nevertheless, as we have (had) pointed out in an earlier editorial this week….”

“More intriguing was the accusing finger which pointed at the Florida State Governor.” My verdict: delete ‘accusing’ in the interest of lexical sanity!

“The crime of the senator who is yet to be properly charged for (with) the crime contained therein….”

“Clearance of non-CRI goods begin (begins) at ports”

“Eguavoen gets sweeping power” Write it right: sweeping powers.

“Obasanjo by making democracy possible in 1979 is a democrat per (par) excellence.”

“…had said that Newswatch is (was) a credible publication, one not likely to misquote him or twist what he says in a free display of editorial freedom.”

“Like (As) we have said at various fora….”

“So these are the kind of things that create jobs but they take time to take off fully.”  Either: this is the kind of thing or these are the kinds of things, depending on context.

“So the government cannot ask the Supreme Court to interprete the law.”  Spell-check: interpret.

“Meanwhile, no one can convince me that we are getting returns of any kind from either of these two countries….” Yank off ‘two’.

“…the reduction in the number of road (sic) accidents and casualities (casualties) have (has)….”

“Self-styled armies sprung (have sprung) here and there.…”

“State, council relationship: chairmen pick hole (holes) in 1999 Constitution.” 

“The private sector in conjunction with the local governments are (is) in a better position….”

“At these occasions, Nigerians have been fed with these noble and esteemed virtues that differentiate the men from the boys.”  Not my opinion: on these occasions.

“As a result, majority of the citizens do not even know of the existence of the national population policy of four children per woman.” Many people: a majority of the citizens.

“There was no signs in the air” Random musings: why the discord? Should this kind of schoolboy error still appear in our newspapers?

“Government has wetted (whetted) the public appetite for information enough.”

“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.”

“…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.” ‘Potential’ is uncountable, unlike ‘potentiality’

“…the Supreme Court put to rest every other discussions.” (Politics & Power, January 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….”   

“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 on Thursday, March 11, 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….”

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