SAMPLE 1: “Although it is barely 9 months into the second and final tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari administration, politicians within the All Progressives Congress, APC, that have eyes on the seat of the President in 2023 presidential election have already began scheming their way to outdo each other in other to position themselves to actualize their ambitions.”(Tinubu, el-Rufai, Kingibe…Meet the five frontrunners for APC 2023 presidential ticket, Opera News Hub, an online medium, 28 April, 2020).
There are numerous errors in this relatively short excerpt but we focus attention on only two. First, we note the verb phrase: “have already began”. Please note that the form have is followed by the form began. Any intelligent reader would note immediately the grammatical relationship between the forms have and began, separated as they are by the word already.
The form have is a marker of the perfect tense. Other markers are had and has. The structure of the perfect tense is this: have/has/had plus a past participle: has spoken; has driven; has written; has attended; has bought; have broken; have bitten; have beaten; have encouraged; have smitten; had gone; had drawn; had greeted; had shown; had driven.
The relationship between the forms have and began clearly violates the principle of the perfect tense as sketched and illustrated above. The form began, in its past simple form, ought to be in its past participle form: begun. The distance between the two words, as between any two words for that matter, should not affect the grammatical relationship between them. Writers should not only be knowledgeable in grammar but should be sensitive to the grammatical relationships among the words they employ within and across sentences.
Next we consider the word other which occurs in the context: “in other to reposition.” The expression in other to is clearly confused with in order to which is the appropriate one for the context. Again, this issue has engaged our attention repeatedly on this page and it would amount to reinventing the wheel if we do not exercise the freedom to appropriate the fruits of our earlier efforts. That freedom is hereby exercised.
Some Nigerian users of English find it difficult to differentiate in pronunciation between the words order and other, thus carrying the phonological confusion into the idiomatic and syntactic usage.
Now read the following sentences: 1) The Treasury Single Account (TSA) was introduced in order to prevent public officers from exceeding their spending limits. 2) Nigerian languages and cultures are being taught in public schools in order to wean our citizens from unhealthy attachment to foreign languages and culture. 3) Regular parents-teachers meetings are held in order to foster a sustained dialogue between parents and teachers. 4) Politicians hold their meetings at night in order to prevent other people from having access to their information. 5) The pregnant woman was immediately subjected to surgery in order to prevent her from laboring too much. 6) The coach subjected his team to regular rigorous training in order to guarantee a brilliant international outing. 7) A lot of stones and cement were used in order to give the building a strong foundation. 8) He told so many lies in order to present himself as a man of integrity. 9) Many advertisements were placed in newspapers in order to generate goodwill for the organization. 10) Many more hands were employed in order to cope with the volume of production this season requires.
The word order can be used in a variety of other ways that should help highlight the difference between it and the word other. Now read the following sentences: 1) It is the constitutional duty of the police to maintain law and order. 2) People will be attended to in the order in which they arrived. 3) The order of service is contained in the pamphlets distributed to the worshippers. 4) No particular order is followed in the way doctors attended to their patients. 5) The chief executive has given an order which cannot be countermanded. 6) The restriction order in that part of the country has been lifted. 7) Since his assumption of office, the president has been trying to put things in order. 8) The machine is out of order and it will require a huge sum of money to fix it. 9) It may interest you to note that I don’t take orders from just anybody. 10) The company has placed an order for a new generator. 11) The army General ordered his men to leave the city. 12) Students were ordered to stay away from the venue of the meeting.
Next we illustrate the usage of the word other. The word can be used in a number of different senses. Read the following sentences: 1) Apart from excessive cash in circulation, there are other factors responsible for inflation. 2) Apart from Christianity and Islam, there are other important religions in the world. 3) The first gentleman seems to be more responsible than the other two. 4) His father had other children by another wife. 5) There are many other things we need to discuss. 6) The other day he was saying something I didn’t quite understand. 7) I see no reason why the two friends should be quarrelling with each other. 8) There are many other books on the same subject. 9) There are situations other than this in which we can encounter similar challenges. 10) We live on the other side of the street. 11) The other false assumption is that life will go on forever. 12) My uncle’s other properties are in Abuja. 13) Some men discriminate against women. In other words, they feel they are superior to women. 14) Soldiers need to understand that this is a democracy and not military dictatorship. In other words, they should learn to submit themselves to civil authority. 15) Parents have a vital role to play in the moral upbringing of their children. In other words, parents should never leave the spiritual and moral destiny of their children entirely in the hands of teachers.
At any rate, the expression in order to should replace in other to in the context under consideration.
Embarrassing grammar mistakes even smart people make (I)
WHEN someone uses grammar incorrectly do you make an assumption about his or her intelligence or education? Like it or not, words, spelling, and punctuation are powerful and can leave a lasting impression on others. But even the most educated people often unknowingly make common writing and speaking flubs. Check out this long list of ubiquitous grammar mistakes. Guarantee: You’ll either learn something new or find a few of your biggest pet peeves here.
It should actually be “served.” Without the d, the phrase above suggests that the first individual who arrives will be the one who serves everyone, which is not the idiom’s intent.
I could care less
Think about this one for a minute. The way it’s written above suggests you possess care which still could be allocated to the situation in question. “I couldn’t care less” is correct because it communicates that “I have no more care to give.”
This is not a word. It’s simply “regardless,” as in “Regardless of what you think about grammar, you’ll look silly if you use it incorrectly.”
“I” as the last word in a sentence.
This mistake is remarkably common, yet a correct example would be “Karlee talked with Brandon and me.” The trick to getting this one straight is to take the other person’s name out of the sentence and see if your personal pronoun choice still sounds right. “Karlee talked with I” is awkward and incorrect.
“Me” as the first word in a sentence.
I hear people saying things such as “Me and Brandon met at Starbucks this morning” all the time, even though it’s always wrong. “Brandon and I met at Starbucks this morning” is correct.
“Shoo-in” is what you really want to write when you’re trying to say that someone is a sure winner. It’s because when you “shoo” something you’re urging it in a certain direction.
“Emigrate” and “from” always go together, as do “immigrate” and “to.” To emigrate is to come from somewhere, and to immigrate is to go to somewhere. “Colin emigrated from Ireland to the United States” means the same as “Colin immigrated to the United States from Ireland.”
Overuse of apostrophes
These little guys are ubiquitously misused. Apostrophes indicate one of two things: possession or letters missing, as in “Sara’s iPad” and “it’s” for “it is” (second i missing). They don’t belong on plurals. “FAQs,” for example, should not have an apostrophe. Also, people often make a mistake with their own last name. If you want to refer to your family but don’t want to list everyone’s first name write “The Johnsons” not “The Johnson’s.” Another big one: Decades should not have apostrophes. For example, «1980s» is correct but «1980›s» is not.
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