SAMPLE 1: “Dickson is set to organize a memorial service in honour of his mother and also formerly present Henry Seriake Dickson Foundation on Thursday, August 8, 2019.”(Abubakar, OBJ, Jonathan, Others to Grace Dickson’s Mother Memorial Launch, Sunday Sun, 4 August, 2019)
We are interested in the adverb formerlywhch occurs in the following context: “and also formerly present Henry Seriake Dickson Foundation.” It should be obvious that the word has been used in confusion with formally. The contextual meaning tells us in clear terms that the reporter has picked a wrong word. The word belonging to that context is formally.
There is a difference between formally and formerly, a difference often blurred in the Nigerian perception by poor pronunciation. Having made that point, we need to illustrate the difference in meaning and usage between former(ly) and formal(ly). Now read the following sentences: 1) It was surprising that a former chairman of our party could be so shameless as to join another party. 2) He earns much more salary here than he did in his former employment. 3) Disciplined and respectable as he seems, he has had two former wives. 4) Former students of the institution are holding meetings on the possibility of giving it a facelift. 5) In former times, Sanitary Inspectors had some of the powers reserved exclusively today for the police. 6) I ran into a former classmate who introduced me to the new business. 7) Two former governors are being prosecuted for embezzlement and related corrupt practices. 8) It is interesting listening to the testimonies of the former armed robber, now an evangelist. 9) One of the guests is a former beauty queen. 10) One of the governors is a formerlabour leader. 11) The clinic was formerly housed in an old property belonging to the Local Government. 12) The school formerly belonged to a Christian Mission. 13) The young man was formerly working with an expatriate firm. 14) Our rates of pay were formerly higher than those of the civil servants. 15) It was formerly thought that the earth was flat. 16) Mathematics was formerly regarded as an arts subject. 17) The Nigerian economy formerly ranked among the strongest in the third world countries. 18) The English language formerly belonged exclusively to the British Isles. 19) The nursing profession was formerly associated with women only. 20) Twins were formerly believed to be demons or gods unfit to live with humans.
The word formal(ly) has do with official situations or conditions or behaviour. Now read the following sentences: 1) It is now time to formally welcome our guests. 2) The former leaders have not formally handed over to the new leaders. 3) The President formally announced the dissolution of the council yesterday. 4) The formal inauguration of the 8th Senate was characterized by controversy. 5) The occasion was declared open formally by the Vice Chancellor. 6) Formal education in modern times is synonymous with western education. 7) Before any other thing, we must have formal introduction. 8) Nobody can occupy a position like that without formal training. 9) The case will be presented formally today. 10) To be admitted into the hall, you have to be formally dressed. 11) Jokes of that nature should not be cracked on formal occasions. 12) A formal meeting is being arranged between the new Senate President and the President of the Federal Republic. 13) A letter has been written formally appointing him as MD. 14) Since the meeting has not adjourned formally, nobody should leave. 15) The chairman formally assumed duty last Wednesday. 16) The Matriculation day is the day new students are formally admitted into the university system. 17) The so-called engagement is the occasion the future groom’s parents formally request the future bride’s parents to release their daughter to them. 18) Retirement marks the retiree’s formal disengagement from service. 19) This is not an occasion for formal, boring speeches but for celebration and jollity. 20) The book will be formally presented to the public before the end of the year.
At any rate, the word formally should replace formerly in the context under review.
Sample 2: “…he was made to join his father’s occupation at a younger age in other to gather the required experience necessary to succeed in life.” (In my Family a Man’s Manhood Never Dies, Sunday Sun, 4 August, 2019)
The expression that requires attention is: “in other to”. The expression occurs in the context: “in other to gather the required experience.” The specific word that is of interest to us is other. The context does indicate that the word is selected in confusion with order. The writer grossly betrays a pronunciation weakness in his choice of this word rather than order. The error is an example of how a pronunciation lapse can generate grammatical/lexical/semantic awkwardness.
As a way of demonstrating the usage differences between the two words, we present a large number of sentences. (The discussion of this matter has featured repeatedly in this place in recent times. We should not be tired of presenting and re-presenting certain issues until they are absolutely clear to our readers.)
Now read the following sentences: 1) Corruption and election-rigging have become the order of the day. 2) Examination malpractices are the order the day in our schools and colleges. 3) Before abortion becomes the order of the day a more stringent law must be enacted to curb it. 4) We should never allow religious riots to become the order of the day in our country. 5) In many of our large cities, indiscriminate dumping of refuse is the order of the day. 6) The Treasury Single Account (TSA) was introduced in order to prevent public officers from exceeding their spending limits. 7) Nigerian languages and cultures are being taught in public schools in order to wean our citizens from unhealthy attachment to foreign languages and culture. 8) Regular parents-teachers meetings are held in order to foster a sustained dialogue between parents and teachers. 9) Politicians hold their meetings at night in order to prevent other people from having access to their information. 10) The pregnant woman was immediately subjected to surgery in order to prevent her from labouring too much. 11) The coach subjected his team to regular rigorous training in order to guarantee a brilliant international outing. 12) A lot of stones and cement were used in order to give the building a strong foundation. 13) He told so many lies in order to present himself as a man of integrity. 14) Many advertisements were placed in newspapers in order to generate goodwill for the organization. 15) 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. 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 othertwo. 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.