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Words, Phrases, Clauses, And Expressions You Mightn’t Know Are Wrong



Words, Phrases, Clauses, And Expressions You Mightn’t Know Are Wrong

By Chinua Asuzu

The following are wrong.

“FCT Abuja” (The correct expression is “Abuja FCT”, because Abuja is inside FCT, not FCT inside Abuja. It’s like “Washington DC”: Washington is inside the District of Columbia, not the other way round. Ditto for “Ikeja Lagos,” not “Lagos Ikeja”.)

“afraid of his life”/“afraid of his health”/”afraid of his safety” (The correct expression is “afraid _for_ …”.)

“bother on” (The correct expression is “border on”.)

“convenant” (The correct spelling is “covenant”.)

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“Tunde denied that he did not beat her” (The correct rendition is “Tunde denied that he beat her.” The negation is already inside the verb _deny_.)

“electorates” (in reference to individual voters) (The singular “electorate” refers to the community or constituency of voters, not an individual voter. “Electorates” never means individual voters, but whole constituencies or even countries, as in the “Nigerian electorate”.)

“elites” (in reference to individuals of a certain class) (The singular “elite” refers to the class of supposedly superior or privileged people in a society. The word “elite” never refers to an individual.)

“expantiate” (The correct spelling is “expatiate”.)

“junior brother”, “junior sister” (The correct adjective is “younger”.)

“senior brother”, “senior sister” (The correct adjective is “elder” or “older”.)

“I look forward to see you” (The correct phrasing is “I look forward to seeing you.”)

“take something personal” (The correct phrase is “πtake something personally”.)

“take somebody/something serious” (The correct phrase is “take somebody/something seriously”.)

“be rest assured” (The correct clause is “rest assured”.)

“restauranteur” (The correct spelling is “restaurateur”—never mind what you read elsewhere, even in some descriptivist dictionaries.)

“severally” (in the sense of “several times”) (The correct expression is “several times”.)

“staffs” (in reference to individual employees) (“Staff” refers to employees as a group or team, not as an individual. “Staff” never refers to an individual employee.)

“stuffs” (in reference to individual items) (“Stuff” refers to a collection or assemblage of items, not an individual item. If I invite you to stay the weekend at my home [not likely], I could say, “Bring your stuff over before midday”, referring to your bags, toiletries, and whatnot.)

“suppose” to (The correct expression is “supposed to”.)

“work ethics” (The correct term is “work ethic”.)


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