We promised at the end of Part 1 to bring you a second part of this special edition of Editorial Conference. Part 2 begins with the contributions of 2 senior media professionals.
- The two major candidates are running neck-to-neck. (Break neck speed!)
Error: Wrong idiom: To run neck and neck is to be so close that it is impossible to tell who is winning; what the Americans call “too close to call”.
Correction: The two major candidates are running neck and neck. (NOT neck-to-neck)
- We have great confidence on INEC. (Temporarily)
Error: Wrong preposition: Basically, Prepositions are words that indicate direction, position, time, or location. Consider the following: On (surface) in, within (inside, contained by); without (outside, not including); round (surrounding, in a circle); toward (in the direction of, near, on the way to, headed for); at (next to, by the side of, by); by (near, through, via, in, next to) etc.
You rely on and have confidence in somebody/something.
Correction: We have great confidence in INEC.
For more on prepositions, visit: http://www.newsplus.ng/editorial-conference-8-prepositions/
- Nigeria is on a thorny democracy rout. (Suicidal!)
Error: Wrong diction: Rout /raʊt/ (pronounced to rhyme with out) is to defeat resoundingly in battle; to decimate. Route /ruːt/ (pronounced to rhyme with root), on the other hand, is the way/path to a destination.
Correction: Nigeria is on a thorny democracy route.
- The 2019 general elections ended on an inconclusive note. (Not surprising)
Error: Redundancy: General covers all the elections: Presidential, legislative and gubernatorial (NOT governortorial!).
Correction: The 2019 general election ended on an inconclusive note.
OR: The 2019 elections ended on an inconclusive note.
- It is hoped that the loser will concede defeat. (Like GEJ?)
Error: Wrong diction: To concede is to “admit or agree that something is true after first denying or resisting it”. Other synonyms (equivalent terms) for concede include surrender, yield, give up. You cannot surrender/yield/give up defeat to a winner. What you concede is victory to an opponent.
Correction: It is hoped that the loser will concede victory.
OR: It is hoped that the loser will admit/acknowledge defeat.
- He is contesting under the platform of the PDP. (He could be crushed to death!)
Error: Wrong preposition: See No. 2 for explanation.
Meanwhile, picture a candidate at a campaign rally. Does he/she stand under the platform or on the platform to address the crowd?
Correction: He is contesting on the platform of the PDP.
OR: He is contesting under the banner/umbrella (pun intended) of the PDP.
- He was standing besides me on the voting queue. (So all others were sitting?)
Error: Wrong preposition: Beside is used only as a preposition; which means there is always a noun following it. It means either “next to” as in: She sat beside her mother OR “compared to,” as in: Hunger is a small problem beside sickness. The first meaning, “next to,” is more common.
Besides can also be used as a preposition, but it means “except” or “in addition to,” as in: There is no one at home besides (except) James. Juliet is at home besides (in addition to) James.
Correction: He was standing beside me on the voting queue.
8. Voting took place in the polling unit between 9AM to 6PM. (Wrong time)
Error: Wrong correlative conjunction : Correlative conjunctions are used in a fixed way. E.g. both….and; either….or; whether….or; neither….nor; between….and; from….to, etc.
Correction: Voting took place in the polling unit between 9AM and 6PM.
OR: Voting took place in the polling unit from 9AM to 6PM.
9. You cannot rule out fowl play in any election. (Fowls playing inside polling booths?)
Error: Malapropism: Fowl (chicken) used instead of the same-sounding foul (unwholesome, unfair, obscene, etc.)
Correction: You cannot rule out foul play in any election.
For more on Malapropism visit: www.newsplus.ng/?s=malapropism
10. What effect do you think this will have to the election process? (None!)
Error: Wrong preposition (Directional instead of positional).
Correction: What effect do you think this will have on the election process?
11. Accreditation started there at exactly 10 AM in the morning. (I hear you!)
Error: Pleonasm/Redundancy.: AM (Latin: Ante Meridiem (before midday) means in the morning.)
Correction: Accreditation started there at exactly 10 AM.
OR: Accreditation started there at exactly 10 (O’clock) in the morning.
For more on Pleonasms, visit: http://www.newsplus.ng/pleonasm/
12. We have not had any challenge with regards to the distribution of election materials. (Greet the officials for me!)
Error: Diction – Contentious phrase: This phrase comes in variants of: with regards to, with regard to, in regard to, as regards; all as different ways to introduce a topic. With regards is commonly used as a form of subscript greeting in business /official communication. They are all considered unnecessary business jargon, depending on the context. Rather use clearer options such as: regarding, concerning, relating to, in connection with, about.
We have not had any challenge regarding/concerning/relating to/in connection with/about the distribution of election materials.
13. He is one of our regular analyst. (Hmmm!)
Error: Concord (number): One of implies one out of more than one. More than one is plural and not singular. You can’t say, for instance: This is one of the man I told you about.
Correction: He is one of our regular analysts.
14. The President assured that the APC remained committed to ensuring a free, fair and credible elections. (which one?)
Errors: 1. Assure (like inform, tell, remind, etc.) is a transitive verb. This means it acts on a direct object. You can’t say, for instance: Inform that the game is over. There has to be an object (a person) that you are informing. 2. The object in a free, fair and credible elections is elections. Remove the modifiers free, fair and credible between it and the determiner a, and you are left with a elections. Any need for further explanation?
Correction: The President assured the nation that the APC remained committed to ensuring a free, fair and credible election.
OR: The President assured the nation that the APC remained committed to ensuring free, fair and credible elections.
Refer also to No. 4.
15. Neither Buhari or Atiku is perfect. (You said it!)
Error: Wrong correlative conjunction. Refer to No. 8.
Correction: Neither Buhari nor Atiku is perfect.
#End of Part 2
Identify/explain the error(s) in the following sentences and proffer solutions.
- Let’s keep that information between you and I.
- The APC won the election irregardless of what the wailers expected.
- The chairman not only congratulated the president but the senators.
- Our candidate is as good and even better than his opponent.
- There party agent was not allowed into the collation centre.
- We all know where Keyamo’s interest lays.
Kindly provide your solutions to these goofs in the Comments section of the post on Facebook. You may also contribute other problems you observed during the general election for use in Part 3 of this intervention.
Meanwhile, find more problematic expressions and their remedies here:
Appreciation: Thanks to Mr Ben Egbuna, Former Executive Director News (Voice of Nigeria) and Former Director General (Radio Nigeria), and Mr Austeen Elewodalu, Ag. Director News, Voice of Nigeria, for their contributions to this session.