The recklessness we note in the social media is shocking, and when you query a culprit, the usual response is: “But, bro, I’ve communicated, haven’t I?” A very unfortunate response, more so if it’s from, say, a teacher or a journalist!
The scribbler’s work isn’t only about conveying information—anyhow—it’s also about being conscious of grammar, clarity, choice of words, use of capital/small letters, punctuation, spelling. That’s basic.
One is bound to ask: why, for instance, does a whole adult begin the name of a person, place, country or such other proper nouns, with a small letter? The recklessness we note in the social media is shocking, and when you query a culprit, the usual response is: “But, bro, I’ve communicated, haven’t I?” A very unfortunate response, more so if it’s from, say, a teacher or a journalist!
Having thus lectured, let’s now sample gems we unearthed over the week, so, here we go...
On Page 1 of the Dec 22 edition of Bongo’s huge and colourful broadsheet, there’s a photo featuring a large number of people, and the caption reads: “PASSENGERS booked on the Otta Bus Service scheduled to leave Dar es Salaam for Bukoba early yesterday…”
Passengers? Nope! Why, says our dictionary: (a passenger) is a person WHO IS TRAVELLING in a car, bus, train, plane or ship and who is not driving it or working on it.” Mark the words “who is travelling”; it doesn’t say, “who will be travelling…” The hapless Wabongo stranded at Ubungo, who knows, may have ended up not boarding the Otta bus or any other, and forced to “eat” Christmas in Dar! These people are, simply, TRAVELLERS (not passengers)! They are, in Kiswahili, wasafiri (not abiria). On Page 2 of the same edition, there’s a story titled, “Fall armyworms invasion now hits Songwe Region”, and the scribbler writes:
“There are reports that the fall armyworms have spread from neighbouring Malawi… At least 20 districts in Malawi have been declared AS disaster areas….”
Declare as…? Nope, we say “Declared disaster areas…” Like when a government official, upon finishing his/her (normally) boring written speech, would conclude it by saying: “Now, ladies and gentlemen, I DECLARE this meeting OPEN (not …AS open). Ah, this treacherous language called English!
One of our foremost followers of this column, Mr HM of Tabata in Dar, communicated and drew our attention to a Page1 headline in Bongo’s senior-most Sunday broadsheet (Dec 17) that reads: “Report unravels truth over SEIZED 59 containers”.
We share his concern… it’s syntactically faulty to say: “…over seized 59 containers”. It should be: “… over 59 seized containers.” (It’s like, you cannot say; “There were killed 59 people”; you need to say: “There were 59 killed people”
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