Sample 1: “In a series of prophecies released to Daily Trust on Sunday, the cleric said ‘the agitation for Biafra will wax very strong and we need to pray strongly because it will take another dimension that will provoke the government of the day to begin to haunt the agitators.’”(2021: Prophet Joshua Iginla releases prophecies about Nnamdi Kanu, Biafra, Daily Post, online, Sunday, 3 January, 2021)
I draw readers’ attention to the word haunt which occurs in the clause, “that will provoke the government of the day to begin to haunt the agitators.” Clearly, the word haunt is used in confusion with hunt, two superficially similar but hardly semantically related words. To hunt a person or animal is to pursue it/him with the aim of hurting or killing the person or animal.
(1) Armed with guns and cutlasses, the team went hunting antelopes.
(2) The cow went wild and two Fulani men were paid to hunt it down.
(3) Many people have claimed that the EFCC was created to hunt down the former president’s political enemies.
(4) The kid was busy in the garden hunting butterflies.
(5) It should have been clear to everybody that the US would hunt down its most wanted enemy.
(6) The scientist did not rest until he had hunted out the specie of his dream.
(7) Local hunters are not allowed to hunt elephants.
(8) Bushes are being set ablaze by those hunting big rats.
(9) You have to obtain a permit before you can hunt in the government reserved forest.
(10) The criminals who escaped from the prison yard are being hunted by the police.
(11) Members of the dreaded cult group are hunting each other with guns and cutlasses.
On the other hand, the verb haunt basically has to do with a ghost appearing in or troubling a place. There is also the metaphorical extension of the word:
(1) Haunted by her past, Janet would often become moody so that her husband would wonder whether he had hurt her in any way.
(2) Successive occupiers of the building have one story or the other to tell about it being haunted by the ghost of the late landlord.
(3) The conscience has been described as a “policeman” that hunts and haunts every man who has done something evil which is not known to his neighbour.
(4) That dreadful experience haunted me for years until I sought spiritual deliverance.
(5) The Doctor was haunted by a major error he had committed in the course of the surgical operation.
(6) Being contiguous to a burial ground, the house is said to be haunted by ghosts.
(7) If he is being haunted by the ghost of her late wife, one may be tempted to conclude that he was responsible for her death.
From those illustrative sentences, it should be clear that the word required in the context is not haunt but hunt: “that will provoke the government of the day to begin to hunt the agitators”
Sample 2: “A source in the hospital told newsmen on Wednesday that the armed robbers who were fully armed scaled the fence of the hospital under the guise of darkness to overpower the security guards on duty.”(Robbers attack doctor, nurses, patients in Ogun hospital, Opera News, 1 January, 2021)
Let’s pay attention to the word guise which occurs in the following context: “scaled the fence of the hospital under the guise of darkness.” The word guise means pretext/pretence, deceptive claim or appearance. The phrase “guise of darkness” would, therefore, mean non-existent darkness, darkness falsely presented so. But we do know that the darkness under reference was real darkness. It should be obvious that the word guise has been wrongly selected.
Now read the following sentences:
1) The armed robbers scaled the fence under the cover of darkness.
2) The armed robbers scaled the fence taking advantage of darkness.
3) Using darkness as cover, the armed robbers scaled the fence.
4) Shielded by darkness, the armed robbers scaled the fence.
5) Protected by darkness, the armed robbers scaled the fence.
6) With darkness everywhere, the armed robbers scaled the fence.
7) The armed robbers scaled the fence under thick darkness.
8) The armed robbers scaled the fence under the influence of darkness.
As those sentences further illustrate, the darkness was not a sham; it was not a hoax. It was real. The armed robbers took advantage of real darkness to perpetrate their evil activity.
Now, let’s illustrate the usage of the word guise in our own sentences. To make the meaning and usage clear, we extend the illustrations to the synonyms of the noun.
1) Under the guise of giving additional instruction, the man took advantage of the innocent girl.
2) Under the pretext that it was too late to go home, the young man passed the night with the lady.
3) Under the guise of seeking and sharing Christian love, the fraudulent guy took advantage of many members of the church.
4) Under the guise of praying for the family, the so-called prophet impregnated the two sisters.
5)Under the guise of helping to remove an insect from the girl’s body, the boy began to touch her inappropriately.
6) Pretending to be helping the lady with household chore, the wayward girl wangled her way into the heart of her friend’s husband.
7) Under the guise of enjoying democratic freedom, some pretentious activists attack their political enemies.
Sample 3: “The reactions were missed as some thanked her for supposedly not hating Christmas like other Muslims…”(Hours after Muslims blasted Atiku and Salah for Xmas posts…Opera News, 26 December, 2020)
The word that requires attention is missed which occurs in the following context: “the reactions were missed.” The word missed, let us note, has been selected in confusion with mixed. The confusion arises mainly because of pronunciation limitation.
We cannot do better than illustrate the usage of each of the words using our own sentences. First, we illustrate the usage of the word miss:
1) One unpleasant part of the experience is that I missed my breakfast for three weeks running.
2) The celebrated scorer missed the goal narrowly.
3) The manmissed his flight by five minutes.
4) The mother is missing her beloved children already.
5) A missed opportunity is difficult if not impossible to recover.
6) They missed their way in spite of having been to the place several times before.
7) I missed your jokes and good-natured reprimands.
8) Students who missed their exams for unavoidable reasons will be given another opportunity.
9) If youmiss your medication once, you risk a very damaging effect on your health.
10) I missed the opportunity to travel to England as a child.
11) I don’t like to miss my sleep.
1) I don’t mix business with pleasure.
2) Petrol and water don’t mix. 3) The news of the cancellation of the election was received with mixed feelings.
3) Mixed marriages are not favoured by the rich and royalty.
4) Living in urban centres is a mixed blessing: Your economy improves but you are also exposed to all sorts of violent activities.
5) Many eaters like rice mixed with beans.
6) We don’t allow our children to mix with those of our neighbours.
7) A mixed school system is favoured by many educationists.
8) Is it a good habit to mix two or more languages when expressing yourself?
9) Don’t you think that mixing truth with falsehood amounts to falsehood?
10) In some churches, men and women are not allowed to mix in the course of the service.
11) Ikogosi is the place where cold and warm water flows side by side and from the same source without mixing.
12) It is not advisable to mix western medicines with African herbal products.
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