Emphasis on social distancing

SAMPLE 1: “On his Instagram page, he reached out to the people of Iwo, Osun and Nigeria at large, emphasizing on the need to stay safe.”(Oluwo of Iwoland back in action? The Nation, Sunday, 22 March, 2020)

The only reason for bringing this excerpt to your attention is the error found in the phrase, emphasizing on. The expression occurs in the following context: “emphasizing on the need to stay safe.” The particle on is intrusive. Some Nigerians have this habit of allowing the particle on to collocate with the verb emphasize. They would say, “The chairman emphasized *on the need for probity in the handling of the company’s affairs.” The proper thing to say is: “The chairman emphasized the need for probity in the handling of the company’s affairs.” Other defective sentences and their corrected versions are as follows: Defective: The professor emphasized *on the importance of regular reading as a means of developing one’s capacity. Corrected version: The professor emphasized the importance of regular reading as a means of developing one’s capacity. Defective: The doctor emphasized *on the need for exercise as a way of maintaining a healthy body. Corrected version: The doctor emphasized the need for regular exercise as a way of maintaining a healthy body. Defective: The guest lecturer encouraged the developing African nations to emphasize *on mechanized agriculture as a means of guaranteeing food security. Corrected version: The guest lecturer encouraged the developing African nations to emphasize mechanized agriculture as a means of guaranteeing food security. Defective: This regime is emphasizing *on training and re-training of staff. Corrected version: This regime is emphasizing training and re-training of staff. Defective: The instructor emphasized *on the need to maintain a clean and hygienic environment. Corrected version: The instructor emphasized the need to maintain a clean and hygienic environment.

Readers should note that although the verb emphasize does not take the particle on, the noun emphasis does. Please read the following sentences: 1) The new regime places emphasis on probity and accountability. (Compare: The new regime emphasizes probity and accountability.) 2) The emphasis in the western world is on increased technology. (Compare: The western world emphasizes increased technology.) 3) The emphasis here is on herbal medicine (Compare: Here we emphasize herbal medicine.) 4) The workshop will place emphasis on the participants’ ability to pronounce words correctly. (Compare: The workshop will emphasize the participants’ ability to pronounce words correctly.) 5) This government is placing emphasis on security. (Compare: This government is emphasizing security.) 6) Any training in English should lay emphasis on clarity of expression. (Compare: Any training in English should emphasize clarity of expression.) 6) Emphasis is placed on social distancing as a means of curtailing the spread of Coronavirus. (Compare: Doctors emphasize social distancing as a means of curtailing the spread of Coronavirus.)

Similarly, some users confuse the particle/preposition that should go with the verb prepare (or its noun preparation) with the one that goes with the adjective preparatory. They would say, preparatory for instead of preparatory to. Read the following sentences: 1a) We are preparing for exams. b) We have bought materials in preparation for exams. C) Materials have been bought preparatory to exams. 2a) We are preparing for the construction work. b) We have cleared the site in preparation for the construction work. C) We have cleared the site preparatory to the commencement of construction work. 3a) INEC is preparing for elections. b) INEC has been procuring materials in preparation for elections. C) INEC has been procuring materials preparatory to the elections. 4a) We are preparing for the meeting. b)The hall has been tidied up in preparation for the meeting. c) The hall has been tidied up preparatory to the meeting. 5) a) I am preparing for resumption. b) I have bought new books in preparation for resumption. c) I have bought new books preparatory to resumption. 6) a) The Super Eagles are preparing for the match.  b) The Super Eagles have gone to the camp in preparation for the match. c) The Super Eagles have gone to the camp preparatory to the match.

Note the following: prepare for; preparation for; preparatory to.

A similar error is noted in the expression: solicit *for. The verb solicit, let us note, does not need the particle for. Please read the following sentences: 1) The boys went out soliciting help for their sick mother. 2) Orphanages are allowed to solicit funds by law. 3) There is no law permitting beggars to solicit money. 4) Like individuals, nations can solicit aid from other nations. 5 Soliciting help takes something away from a person’s dignity. 6) Students should feel free to solicit books from publishing companies.

As another example, some Nigerians would say : “at the verge of…” instead of: “on the verge of…” Please read the following sentences: 1) I came into the country on the verge of the general elections. 2) Now that the company is on the verge of economic breakthrough, nothing should be done to reverse its fortune. 3) The world seems to be on the verge of inventing the vaccine for the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). 4) The Security Council intervened at the appropriate time: the country was then on the verge of anarchy. 5) The help came at a time I was on the verge of bankruptcy. 6) War broke out on the verge of independence of the country.

The verb form also takes the particle on: 1) The delirious outbursts verge on lunacy. 2) The expression of doubt verges on malicious suspicion. 3) His condition verges on absolute poverty. 4) Her level of education verges on illiteracy. 5) The hedging verges on dishonesty. 6) The man’s spiritual condition verges on apostasy.

The verb border also takes the particle on and is synonymous with verge on: 1) His insensitivity borders on misanthropy. 2) The happy-go-lucky attitude borders on laziness. 3) Your attitude to your friend’s success borders on jealousy. 4) The way he has been hiding information on the matter borders on insincerity. 5) The man’s consistent refusal to obey his seniors borders on rebellion. 6) The insurgency borders on national insecurity.

At any rate, the structure under review should read: “emphasizing the need to stay safe.”

 

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