Deceased bodies? No; say deceased’s bodies or bodies of the deceased

Friday January 21 2022
Deceased pic

Check the following: COSTER for COASTAL (Union) Football Club and Ivory COST for Ivory COAST. Trust signwriters! PHOTO | AMS

By Abdi Sultani

On Page 3 of Bongo’s huge and colourful broadsheet of Saturday, January 15, there is a story entitled, ‘Tourism ministry training guides ready for post-pandemic recovery period’. Therein, the scribbler, purports to quote an official with a tour guides association top official and writes:

“We are grateful to the government IN providing this crucial training for THEY ARE not only timely but also very important…”

You become grateful to someone FOR (not “in”) giving you something. And then, if the subject of the sentence is “training”, how does the pronoun “they” come in? I aver the scribbler meant to say: “…IT IS not only timely but also…”

On Page 4 there is a story with this longish headline, “MTI supports provision of health services to refugees residing in Kigoma Region’. In this one, the scribbler writes: “Kasulu District Medical Officer…said the district hospital faces THE shortage of health workers. It has only 20 STAFF out of the required 200.

The hospital faces the shortage? Nope! The hospital faces A shortage of…

And, let me say it again in this space. The noun “staff” refers to the number of employees in an organisation expressed in their totality. There is nothing like one, two…twenty staff. However, you will be correct to say, “The hospital as A STAFF of 20…” Or, 20 members of staff.


The scribbler says in the subsequent paragraph: “Rwebangira noted that despite the VARIOUS support they receive…”

Various support? No sir! The noun “support” is uncountable, which means you cannot qualify it with the adjective “various”, unless you say “various FORMS/TYPES of support.

Still on Page 4 of the broadsheet. In a story entitled, ‘Government Chemist conducts training for transporters of hazardous materials’, the scribbler says in his intro:

“The Government Chemist…has conducted training for transporters of hazardous goods to help them avoid health risks when transporting the items from one DESTINATION to THE other.”

There is an issue of logic here. I aver we transport goods TO (not from) a (certain) destination. Or, we transport goods from one point to another (not to the other)

Also on Saturday, January 15, Bongo’s senior-most broadsheet had on Page 4 this story, ‘Pakistan doctors conduct free medical checkups, treatment’. In this, the scribbler moves to quote one of the Pakistan doctors. He writes:

“‘I have found that here in Tanzania hernia, diabetes and high blood pressure are among the diseases that afflict many people…’ said Dr Ali, urging experts to conduct thorough research to determine the causes of the diseases and ‘curb from’ CONTRACTING them.”

It is clear our scribbling colleague has no idea of how to use the word “curb”–no wonder he says “curb from”! Nor does he seem to know that a person doesn’t contract non-infectious diseases such as hernia, HBP and diabetes. Instead, a person DEVELOPS such diseases. You contract cholera, malaria, HIV, Covid-19 and the like, thanks to bacteria or viruses.

And, we can curb (keep in check) the INCIDENCE of diseases.

Page 4 of this broadsheet has a story entitled, ‘Government commended for support in scribes’ funerals’, and therein the scribbler purports to quote a press club official:

“We are grateful for the support from the regional GOVERNMENT including transportation of the DECEASED BODIES to their respective homes…”

Much as our Kiswahili media counterparts talk of “serikali ya mkoan…”, we of the English press refer to the same as “regional AUTHORITIES.”

How about the deceased bodies? Nope! We say, DECEASED’S BODIES or, BODIES OF THE DECEASED. Or simply THE DECEASED.