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The DIFFERENCE between DOUBLE DATING and TWO-TIMING

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Today, I would share with you the difference between one who double dates and another who two-times. Two-time?

See the difference below:

TWO-TIMING & DOUBLE DATING
Two-timing
To deceive or be unfaithful to a lover is to two-time.
Are you sure he’s not *two-timing* you (not, double dating)?

Double dating
This is a date involving two couples
We went out on a *double date* with Jim and Karen.
She and Shuman *double-date* with an elderly couple they’ve befriended.

Hopefully, you’d avoid this faux pas when you write or speak.

CD, LDOCE, ELH

A member of Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood, Philosophers of Education Association of Nigeria, Research Fellow of The French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA) and Reviewer for an International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research (IJLTER) based in Port Louis, Mauritius. A PhD candidate, researcher, administrator and seasoned educator, with interest in Language, Literacy and Literature.

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Grammar Trends

Refrain from these COMMON ERRORS

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COMMON ERRORS

Shed light on it (not shed more light on it).

I’ll pay you at the end of the month (not I’ll pay you by month end).

He is talkative (not he is a talkative).

He was in jeans and polo (not he was on jeans and polo).

I will pay your fare (not transport fare). Fare means money paid for a transport ticket so the word ‘transport’ is redundant.

We are lagging behind (not, lacking behind).

He is stocky (not, lanky). Many erroneously think to be broad and sturdily built is to be lanky, whereas to be lanky is to be ungracefully thin.

We had guests from all walks of life (not, works of life).

I am Ikeoluwapo B. Baruwa (not, Baruwa Ikeoluwapo B.). When arranging one’s name, the surname comes last. However, if you write the surname first, it has to be separated by a comma: Baruwa, Ikeoluwapo B.

He’s a member of staff (not, a staff). All of the employees of an organisation make up the staff so an individual can’t be a staff.

Credit: GAB

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Grammar Trends

On the Civil Unrest in Nigeria: a Linguistic Perspective

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On the Civil Unrest in Nigeria: a Linguistic Perspective

Nigerians have, for an aeon, clamoured for a considerably better life. However, ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ (not, ‘the last/final straw that broke the camel’s back’) was the peaceful demonstrations staged across the nation to demand the outright disbandment of the infamous special unit of the Nigeria Police Force, designated as SARS (the Special Anti-Robbery Squad), in the wake of the brutality, extortions and extrajudicial executions meted out to some hapless and helpless Nigerians. In that connection, the general reader should note that SARS has an entry in reputable English dictionaries; it is an abbreviation for ‘severe acute respiratory syndrome’, a debilitating infectious disease which causes breathing difficulties and, sometimes, death. Perhaps the only similarity between the two SARS’s is that they are harbingers of death. To buttress the foregoing, many a person has bewailed that, ‘We don’t feel “save” in the hands of people who should be protecting us’. While that submission is incontrovertible, it is instructive to emphasise that people feel ‘safe’; not ‘save’. By extension, we can appeal to God and the Federal Government to ‘save’ us, so that we can be ‘safe’. You can discern from the last sentence that the verb is ‘save’ (save us), and that triggers the feeling of being ‘safe’, an adjective (we feel safe). Meanwhile, how the youthful, prudent and vibrant protesters — who were branded by some old folk as ‘visionaries’ (not, ‘visioneers’) — sustained the protest rallies without any pre-eminent leader is laudable. Most certainly, though, they had ‘sponsors’ (not, ‘sponsorers’) who bankrolled healthcare, food and drinks, private security and other logistics. Frankly speaking, it feels exhilarating to belong to a generation of young people who speak up without let or hindrance, while their leaders ‘turn/put off’ their microphones (not, ‘off’ their microphones). Mark you, to ‘off’ (as a verb), in informal American English, means to ‘kill’ somebody.
Observably, while the peaceful remonstrance nationwide rose to a crescendo, it is absolutely appalling that some malevolent elements like ‘louts’ (not, ‘touts’), miscreants and, perhaps, ‘bandits’ (not, ‘armed bandits’) contrived to sabotage and subvert the efforts of the coordinated Nigerian youth by infiltrating the latter’s ranks and assaulting them. Some of the valiant youth had to repel these villains by hurling projectiles at them. This, mercifully, did not culminate with reprisal attacks, as the services of private security establishments were contracted. Take note that, as opposed to what a school of thought has posited in times past, ‘reprisal attacks’ is as appropriate as ‘reprisals’. In other words, the former is not tautologous or pleonastic.
Not just that, it is equally distressing that ammunition (not ‘ammunitions’) was directed at unarmed citizens of a country and, to date, no one has openly taken responsibility for such a dastardly disposition. Even if it was claimed that the intent of the security personnel was to disperse the demonstrators, and not to kill them, still, some of them became casualties of ‘stray bullets’ (not, ‘straight bullets’). These innocent and patriotic citizens, who had defied the elements by staying ‘in’ the sun or rain (not, ‘under’ the sun or rain), were assaulted in the evening, resulting in the ‘loss of lives’ (not, ‘lost/loose/lose of lives’). Although some individuals have castigated the protesters for flouting the government’s directive on ‘curfew’ (not, ‘coffin/coffee’), it was still not a justifiable reason to unleash ammunition. Besides, prominent persons such as Aisha Yesufu, Folarin Falana (Falz the bahd guy) and Obianuju Catherine Udeh (DJ Switch), ‘to name but a few’ (not, ‘to name a few’) must be commended for their substantial inputs over the course of the remonstrance. Some people particularly acknowledged DJ Switch’s concerted efforts to ensure that victims were nursed back ‘to health’ (not, ‘to life’). Furthermore, I watched footage where she ‘raised the alarm’ (not, ‘raised an alarm’) when ‘gunshots’ (not, ‘gun shots’) were being fired from a distance.
In my considered opinion, the protesters were markedly different from the ‘riff-raff’ (not, ‘riff-raffs’) who remorselessly indulged in the vandalism, plundering and torching of private and public ‘property’ (not, ‘properties’). At this juncture, it is of critical importance to underscore that, while ‘property’, an uncount noun, collectively refers to people’s possessions (buildings, vehicles, electronics, gadgets, items of furniture and whatnot), ‘properties’ should be used for buildings and the surrounding land only. Incidentally, the overwhelming majority of these miscreants have been deprived of necessaries such as gainful employment, functional healthcare, as well as social and economic ‘infrastructure’ (not, ‘infrastructures’). Although these young people appear embittered, they went ‘to extremes’ (not, ‘to the extreme’) to register their dissatisfaction. The malicious ‘damage’ (not, ‘damages’) caused by these hooligans is dispiriting, and those who have been apprehended amongst them should be made to pay ‘damages’ (a sum of money claimed or awarded in compensation for a loss or an injury) to those whose personal property was either pillaged or razed.
If the government does not want a repeat of the unsightly fallout, the ‘agitation’ (an uncount noun; not ‘agitations’) of the demonstrators should not be swept under the carpet. First things first, the government should engage in nationwide consultation with the citizens for an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the people’s yearnings. Once this is rigorously ascertained, the legislators should expeditiously pass the requisite bills, and the President should not withhold his ‘assent’ (not, ‘accent’).

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Education

James’ Bag or James’s Bag: Indicating Ownership with the Apostrophe

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James’ Bag or James’s Bag: Indicating Ownership with the Apostrophe

The punctuation mark called the apostrophe (’) is one of the most important symbols in English language. It performs three major functions, with the first bordering on pluralisation. For instance:
1. Underline the f’s and circle the q’s.
2. These are my do’s and don’ts.
Secondly, it functions as an indicator of an omission or a contraction (int’l and don’t). Its third and supremely important function is the depiction of ownership, which many users of English find difficult to grasp, especially in writing. Mercifully, this treatise will cast light on the rules governing the usages of the apostrophe to indicate ownership, alongside other core uses.
Fundamentally, the apostrophe is used when assigning possession to singular nouns that do not end in ‘s’, as seen in examples such as: Kunle’s book, Femi’s bag and Juliet’s bracelet. As a corollary to that, a singular noun that ends in ‘s’ could either attract the apostrophe alone or an apostrophe that is succeeded by ‘s’. This reinforces the appropriateness of: James’/James’s wallet, Julius’/Julius’s singlet and Thomas’/Thomas’s girlfriend. While the former option sounds more natural, especially in spoken English, the latter alternative reflects grammatical aesthetics. The choice is, therefore, an open one for language users. However, the nouns in this category should not be mistaken for those ones that contain two s’s — one in the middle and another at the end. Nouns in this category attract only the apostrophe without ‘s’. Representative examples are ‘Jesus’ and ‘Moses’, and their usage is exemplified below:
3. Christians pray in Jesus name (incorrect).
Christians pray in Jesus’s name (incorrect).
Christians pray in Jesus’ name (correct).
4. Moses’ assets are worth 900 million dollars (correct).
Although some users have made a case for the correctness of Moses’s and Jesus’s, it is advisable to keep clear of these orthographic representations because their pronunciations sound really awkward. Having considered singular nouns, it is essential to school you in the use of plural nouns with the apostrophe. When a plural noun ends in ‘s’, it takes the apostrophe alone to indicate ownership, as portrayed in the ensuing noun phrases: boys’ bags, ladies’ wear and firefighters’ hazmat suits.
In the case of plural nouns that do not end in ‘s’, an apostrophe and an ‘s’ are used to indicate possession. Quintessential examples include: Children’s Day, men’s shoes and women’s hats. Remarkably, there are other peculiar usages of the apostrophe, such as ascribing ownership of a single item to a group of people. When this is the case, the last person to be mentioned reflects the apostrophe for collective ownership. This is made abundantly clear in the example sentences below:
5. The company is Kunle’s, Femi’s and Tayo’s (incorrect).
The company is Kunle, Femi and Tayo’s (correct).
Contrariwise, if different persons own their entities severally, all of the names will reflect the ownership thus:
6. These manufacturing concerns are Kunle’s, Femi’s and Tayo’s (correct).
Furthermore, be mindful of the reality that ownership can exist within another ownership. When this occurs, every instance of ownership is apostrophised, as illustrated below:
7. This is my father favourite worker child’s school (incorrect).
This is my father’s favourite worker’s child’s school (correct).
Interestingly, too, it is of critical importance to apostrophise any noun that precedes the noun ‘sake’.
8. This administration should prudently invest in human capital development, for posterity sake (incorrect).
This administration should prudently invest in human capital development, for posterity’s sake (correct).
9. For goodness sake, stop spanking these children (incorrect)!
For goodness’ sake, stop spanking these children (correct)!
10. The class was split into four groups, for convenience sake (incorrect).
The class was split into four groups, for convenience’/convenience’s sake (correct).
11. For correctness’ sake, the apostrophe should be used with pinpoint accuracy (correct).
12) For God sake, stop prying into Hannah’s private affairs (incorrect).
For God’s sake, stop prying into Hannah’s private affairs (correct).
Additionally, the apostrophe will prove consequential when indicating the timescales of uncountable nouns. Classic examples are:
12. These vaccines are products of a seven-year research (incorrect).
These vaccines are products of seven years’ research (correct).
13. Greg was sentenced to a nine-year imprisonment (incorrect).
Greg was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment (correct).
14. Mr. Davidson was given a one-month paternity leave (incorrect).
Mr. Davidson was given a/one week’s paternity leave (correct).
15. I have a nine-year experience in civil engineering (incorrect).
I have nine years’ experience in civil engineering (correct).
16. God willing, I shall be awarded a PhD in two years’ time (correct).
Other miscellaneous usages of the apostrophe include:
17. I bought three thousand naira worth of comestibles (incorrect).
I bought three thousand naira’s worth of comestibles (correct).
18. The convalescent child had a good night sleep (incorrect).
The convalescent child had a good night’s sleep (correct).
To round off this treatise, some expositions will be made on the use of the apostrophe in idiomatic expressions. First off, a place that is in close proximity to somewhere else is said to be a ‘stone’s throw’; not ‘a stone throw’. Secondly, a very long period of time is idiomatically expressed as ‘donkey’s years’; not ‘donkey years’.
Achieving finesse in language use is a function of paying meticulous attention to the minutest grammatical detail. Hence, if well internalised, this piece will upscale your level of eloquence.
© 2020 Ganiu Abisoye Bamgbose (Dr GAB)

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Grammar Trends

THE MARRIAGE OF WORDS: COLLOCATIONS

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Some expressions are regularly paired together in the English language. Such words or phrases are called collocates. On account of the fact that collocates are inextricably linked, a distortion in their combinations will culminate with grammatical incongruities. Contrariwise, their appropriate usages will embroider one’s speech or writing with coherence and finesse. Most assuredly, every astute individual prefers speaking with remarkable proficiency TO speaking with inexactitude. The marriage of the verb ‘PREFER’ and the preposition ‘TO’ is the embodiment of what grammarians aptly designate as a collocation. Mark you, one thing ought to be preferred TO another; not THAN another. For good measure, other prominent collocations that involve prepositions are:

1. Sometime in 2005, Adebayo dabbled into grassroots politics (incorrect).

Sometime in 2005, Adebayo dabbled in/at/with grassroots politics (correct).

2. We had no alternative than to part company with Temitope (incorrect).

We had no alternative but to part company with Temitope (correct).

3. In virtue of the notice to quit that was served on me, I have no choice than to move house (incorrect).

In virtue of the notice to quit that was served on me, I have no choice but to move house (correct).

4. She had no option than to procure a passport in the space of four days (incorrect).

She had no option but to procure a passport in the space of four days (correct).

5. The efficacy of my smartphone is superior than the effectiveness of Jasmine’s (incorrect).

The efficacy of my smartphone is superior to the effectiveness of Jasmine’s (correct).

6. The 35-year-old Caucasian was charged for attempted murder, arson and burglary (incorrect).

The 35-year-old Caucasian was charged with attempted murder, arson and burglary (correct).

7. A fifty per cent deposit has been paid for Johnson’s sport utility vehicle (incorrect).

A fifty per cent deposit has been paid on Johnson’s sport utility vehicle (correct).

8. In the wake of the onslaught occasioned by the pandemic, health practitioners now work on a tight schedule (incorrect).

In the wake of the onslaught occasioned by the pandemic, health practitioners now work to a tight schedule (correct).

Further to these reflections, the substantial readership should make mental note of the fact that your ability to sing a song, recite a poem or know something perfectly well, such that you no longer have to read its content from any source, amounts to knowing it ‘(off) by heart’. This standpoint is expressly illustrated in the accompanying sentence structures:

9. My 10-year-son can recite the times table by heart (correct).

10. The audience were enthralled to witness Mr. Abiodun deliver the keynote speech off by heart (correct).

11. How many verses of Scripture can you recite by heart (correct)?

How many verses of Scripture can you recite offhand (incorrect)?

Understandably, an inquisitive being may probe the incorrectness of the latter expression in context eleven, in spite of the admissibility of OFFHAND (not OFFHEAD!) in standard English lexicon. Well, to set the record straight, no one can recite a poem/a verse of the Scriptures/the times table, sing a song or deliver a keynote address OFFHAND! The rationale behind this is that to do something OFFHAND involves doing that thing at once, without thought, without adequate preparation or without premeditation, to wit:

12. I cannot remember your uncle’s name offhand (correct).

13. Can you tell me offhand how much the project might cost (correct)?

What is more, the onus is on you to take note that whenever ‘although/though’ is deployed as a conjunction in a statement, ‘yet’ and ‘but’ should not be used as conjunctions in equal measure. For the avoidance of doubt, this unimpeachable position is evidenced in the statements below:

14. Although Funmi was invited to the party, yet she was not offered anything (incorrect).

Although Funmi was invited to the party, she was not offered anything (correct).

Funmi was invited to the party, yet she was not offered anything (correct).

15. Though I think Ibrahim’s submissions are absolutely correct, but I am not an expert on the subject (incorrect).

Though I think Ibrahim’s submissions are absolutely correct, I am not an expert on the subject (correct).

I think Ibrahim’s submissions are absolutely correct, but I am not an expert on the subject (correct).

On the flip side, ‘yet’ can be incorporated into a sentence that harbours ‘though/although’, so long as the former (yet) is deployed as an adverb — not a conjunction. The following are sentences that consolidate this stance:

16. Although some research has been undertaken into the causes of the coronavirus, no vaccine has yet (an adverb) to be developed.

17. Though it is past midnight, Philip is not in bed yet (an adverb).

In furtherance of that, more technical examples of collocations are: ‘either…or’, ‘neither…nor’, ‘no sooner…than’, ‘hardly…when’ and ‘scarcely…when’. Accordingly, one must avoid the pitfall of piecing ‘no sooner’ with ‘when’, as portrayed in the example sentences below:

18. No sooner had we started the examination when she was caught cheating (incorrect).

No sooner had we started the examination than she was caught cheating (correct).

19. She had hardly entered the living room when the power was restored (correct).

20. Scarcely had we commenced proceedings than it began to rain (incorrect).
Scarcely had we commenced proceedings when it began to rain (correct).

Not just that, in the category of collocations that are often misrepresented is ‘not only… but also’. As often as not, many a non-native speaker omits the second constituent of the collocation, thereby generating grammatically skewed sentences. For specifics, the inappropriate and apt illustrations are stated below:

21. Professor Wale Adegbite is not only cerebral, he is sophisticated (incorrect).

Professor Wale Adegbite is not only cerebral but also sophisticated (correct).

22. They not only perused the book, but also recollected what they had read (correct).

In a similar vein, it should be noted that while we sympathise with people, we get sympathetic to/towards them and show sympathy for them. By implication, ‘sympathise’, ‘sympathetic’ and ‘sympathy’ collocate with ‘with’, ‘to/towards’ and ‘for’, respectively. Also in the category of prominent collocations are ‘with a view to’ and ‘look forward to’. Instructively, these phrases are succeeded by gerunds (nouns that are inflected with ‘ing’) — not infinitives/verbs — as instanced below:

23. Dr GAB works hard with a view to become (an infinitive/a verb) the Professor Shola Babatunde of his generation (incorrect).

Dr GAB works hard with a view to becoming (a gerund) the Professor Shola Babatunde of his generation (correct).

24. Microsoft Corporation looks forward to partner (an infinitive/a verb) with Tesla Incorporated (incorrect).

Microsoft Corporation looks forward to partnering (a gerund) with Tesla Incorporated (correct).

In striking contrast, the phrase ‘be about’ must be followed by ‘to infinitives’ (examples are ‘to eat’, ‘to dance’ and whatnot); not ‘gerunds’ (dancing, eating and the like). For instance:

25. I was about giving (a gerund) Cynthia a buzz when she arrived (incorrect).

I was about to give (to infinitive) Cynthia a buzz when she arrived (correct).

26. Dorothy was just about going (a gerund) to bed when she heard voices on her doorstep (incorrect).

Dorothy was just about to go (to infinitive) to bed when she heard voices on her doorstep (correct).

27. The disillusioned members of staff were about registering their displeasure when the CEO increased their remuneration packages by five per cent (incorrect).

The disillusioned members of staff were about to register (to infinitive) their displeasure when the CEO increased their remuneration packages by five per cent (correct).

Last but not least, when the phrase ‘would rather’ is directly succeeded by an object, the latter, in effect, is followed by the past tense of any given verb. In this regard, suffice it to study the accompanying statements.

28. I would rather Peter (object) depart for the Netherlands in two months’ time (incorrect).

I would rather Peter (object) departed for the Netherlands in two months’ time (correct).

29. My mother would rather you (object) accompany us to the movies (incorrect).

My mother would rather you (object) accompanied us to the movies (correct).

However, when the object that directly succeeds ‘be about’ is expunged from the sentence structure, the verb will revert to a bare infinitive.

30. I would rather depart (bare infinitive) for the Netherlands in two months’ time (correct).

31. My mother would rather accompany (bare infinitive) us to the movies (correct).

Upon devoting scrupulous attention to these elucidations, you will agree with me that collocations are intricate aspects of language usage. As a consequence, they must be studied in meticulous detail and mastered thereafter.

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Grammar Trends

It’s Wrong To Say In All Ramifications To Mean…

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RAMIFICATION
Nigerian English speakers say ‘in all ramifications’ to mean ‘in all aspects’, or ‘in all dimensions’. On the contrary, ramification (countable, usually plural – ramifications) is widely understood among native English speakers to mean an ‘unwelcome consequence’. Hence, Nigerian usage is unidiomatic and nonstandard.

For emphasis, it is an additional result of something you do, which may not have been clear (free of suspicion) when you first decided to do it.

Synonyms include implication, complication, consequence

This strange, unsolicited statement was to have further ramifications later on.

an agreement which was to have significant ramifications for British politics.

These changes are bound to have widespread social ramifications.

This ongoing evolution of the Internet has ramifications for the types of commercial activities it can offer.

LDOCE, OALD, ELH

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Grammar Trends

Is It Right To Say More Grease/Power To Your Elbow?

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MORE POWER TO YOUR ELBOW
‘More grease to your elbow’ is a wrong expression. Say ‘More power to your elbow’ instead. ‘More power to your elbow’ is an expression of praise or admiration for someone’s success or brave actions.

I’ve decided to quit my job and set up my own business. Well, good for you. More power to your elbow!

ELBOW GREASE
‘Elbow grease (informal)’ means hard work and effort, especially when cleaning or polishing something.

Hopefully, this knowledge will save many householders a great deal of elbow grease

LDOCE, Cambridge Dictionary, ELH

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