Of relief and outrider

SAMPLE 1: “Gomina was said to be off duty on Friday, but had volunteered to relief his colleague, Bawa who was meant to be on duty at the time he died, but was reportedly attending to his sick wife, who later died on Saturday.”(‘We’ll not abandon deceased outrider’, The Nation, 15 March, 2020)

We note the word relief which occurs in the following structure: “had volunteered to relief his colleague…” Take a second look at the slot in which the word relief occurs and it should be obvious that the slot belongs to a verb. Yes, that slot is meant to be occupied by a verb. But is that word in its verb form? Certainly not! The verb form is relieve and the noun form is relief. We once discussed matters of this nature extensively in this place. Yet, we can’t do better today than rehash our earlier discussion on the matter.

We now examine and illustrate the usage differences between relief (noun) and relieve (verb). First relief: (1) For hours we had lived in mortal fear, but relief came our way when the soldiers appeared with their guns at the ready. (2) Money can bring relief and comfort, especially after a long period of poverty, but peace comes only from the knowledge of God. (3) Having exhausted all our food items, we least expected relief when it came: abundant supply of raw food brought by my mother. (4) We breathed a sigh of relief when we heard that our company had won the contract. (5) There couldn’t have been a bigger relief than the arrival of a baby a few days after the bereavement. (6) It is unfortunate that up till now the victims of the flood disaster have not received the relief promised by the government agency. (7) The newly manufactured drugs are known to be effective for pain relief. (8) Several hours after taking the drugs, he did not experience any relief. (9) A short period of relief was followed by a bout of sharp, unmitigated pain. (10) The main aim of modern medicine, some have argued, is to provide relief from pain.

Now the verb-form, relieve: (1) The sudden appearance of the boy who had disappeared for close to a month relieved my anxiety. (2) There are herbal products that relieve pain faster than modern drugs. (3) One of the important benefits of sporting activities is that they help to relieve tension and boredom. (4) The payment has relieved me of a heavy financial burden. (5) The overhead bridges were designed to relieve traffic congestion in the Lagos metropolis. (6) The offer is intended to relieve the poor and the needy. (7) I was relieved to learn that some of the members of our club who were being detained by the police had been released. (8) Apart from giving us the energy required for daily living, food helps to relieve the pain caused by hunger. (9) Instead of relieving my emotional pain, what you have said has increased my trauma. (10) These days, young men see marriage as a burden of which they will be glad to be relieved.

The difference between the forms safe and save is similar to that between relief and relieve. The verb form is save, and the readers would notice immediately that the only difference in terms of spelling between the adjective (safe) and the verb (save) is represented by the difference between the letters f and v. The difference, minor as it might seem from the orthographic point of view, should command all seriousness at the level of grammar. It helps to always remember that significant syntactic and semantic differences may be signalled by seemingly trivial orthographic variations. This observation is applicable to all the pairs of words considered today.

As we have noted, the adjective form is safe and the verb form is save, and the usage of each is illustrated as follows, beginning with safe: (1) It is better to keep a safe distance from that beast, for it can charge suddenly. (2) The WHO has been emphasizing safe sex as a way of keeping the population down. (3) It is not safe to stay in the villages adjoining the cantonment while the shootings are going on. (4) The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has emphasized the need for its members to work in safe environments. (5) Before anything else, let us thank God for the safe arrival of the members of our family. (6) The leader of the team has warned that it is not safe to roam the street at night. (7) It is not safe to swim when the tide is high. (8) Alone in darkness and in a house as big as this, I don’t feel safe at all. (9) Is it safe to drive through that road at this time of the day? (10) Is my box safe by the road side?

Next, we illustrate the usage of the verb save: (1) Who can save the country from a party whose leaders do not believe in the welfare of the people? (2) The civil society groups have vowed to save our young democracy. (3) If the money had been made available much earlier, I would have been saved the embarrassment that I experienced three days ago. (4) I try to save some money, however small, every month. (5) The timely intervention of France and NATO saved thousands of lives in Ivory Coast. (6) With the identification and withdrawal of the killer drugs from circulation, millions of lives have been saved. (7) Measures are being taken by experts to save our forests from further damage. (8) I will take you in my car to save you the trouble of trekking ten miles. (9) In the next six months, I should have saved enough money to buy a new car. (10) I want to save my energy for the more demanding task.

The difference between relief and relieve is similar to that between belief and believe.The verb-form, let us note, is believe; the noun form is belief. To understand the difference between the two forms we need to demonstrate how each of them is used in our own sentences. We start with the noun form (belief): (1) Our belief in the existence of the almighty God is reinforced by what we observe in the natural phenomena. (2) I have this belief that talent must be support with hard work if it is to be appreciated by people. (3) Religious beliefs do not necessarily conflict with scientific principles. (4) The insensitivity and cruelty of our leaders are beyond belief. (5) Despite the belief to the contrary, no race is superior to the other. (6) Some people go to the university in the mistaken belief that higher education automatically confers greatness. (7) My belief in the power of the press is unaffected by the messy roles played by some newspapers in the weakening of our democracy. (8) I fail to understand how a man who professes such a strong belief in democracy should identify with those who are undermining it. (9) Many times, popular beliefsare founded on fiction rather than reality. (10) Many rural dwellers have no genuine belief in the modern financial system.

Now the verb: (1) Those who believe in the existence of God are no less intelligent than those who don’t. (2) Although the marriage seems to be happy now, I believe the woman has made a wrong choice. (3) When you tell and listen to lies a lot, you soon begin to believe lies. (4) If you believe and practise the word of God, your life will be the better for it. (5) There is nothing in his words or conduct that would make anybody believe the boy. (6) It is difficult to believe that a business that started barely five years ago would have branches all over Africa and Europe. (7) The contemporary young men don’t believe that marriage is anything to be taken seriously. (8) Members of the white race believe that they are intellectually superior to Africans. (9) If you believe that tall story, then you can believe anything. (10) Even if you believe that doctrine, please don’t teach it to your church members.

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Embarrassing grammar mistakes even smart people make (IV)

Tie me over

You don’t really want someone to tie you on top of something, do you? The phrase “tide me over” is talking about sustaining someone through a difficult time and refers to the ocean’s tide, which is capable of moving boats to a new location when the wind will not.

 

Tow the line

To “toe the line” means to follow the rules. It comes from runners who put their toe to the line before running a race.

 

Chalk full

The word “chock” is an Old English word which means “cheek” as well as “full to the brim.” In other words, “chock-full” means “mouthful.”

 

Throws of passion

Just know that a throe is a sharp attack of emotion. So, to be in the “throes of passion” is to be violently consumed by something.

 

A mute point

Mute means silent, so would you really want to make a point that doesn’t say anything? A point that is “moot” is debatable or doubtful. So, a point can be moot, but not mute.

 

Overuse of “literally”

Some people throw this word around as an embellishment to intensify whatever they’re trying to say. But “literally” means “actually” or “in a strict sense.” So, if you say, “My head literally exploded,” you are lying.

 

Expresso

The strong coffee drink brewed into a tiny cup is pronounced with an “s” in the first syllable and written “espresso.”

 

Jive with the facts

Jive can be defined as a colorful form of speaking, or as referring to certain kinds of jazz or swing music. Since “jibe” means “to agree,” the correct phrase would be “jibe with the facts.”

 

“For-tay” for forte

If you’re trying to say that something is or isn’t your talent, the technically correct way to pronounce “forte” is “fort.” The only problem: Lots of people understand what you’re trying to communicate if you pronounce it “for-tay,” which is incorrect. So, if you use the correct version you’ll sound intelligent to the grammarians of the world but you risk alienating a certain percentage of people who will not understand your meaning. My approach: Avoid “forte” altogether and say, “It’s not my strength.”

 

Eccetera

Pronounce “etcetera” exactly how it is spelled. Lots of people bristle when a speaker drops the “t.”

 

Deep-seeded

The incorrect spelling above seems like it could be right since something that is planted deeply in the ground would be firmly established. The correct expression, though, is “deep-seated.”

 

Extract revenge

When you “extract” something, you remove it. “Exact,” when used as a verb, means “to require or demand.” Look it up if you don’t believe me.

 

Sneak peak

A “peak” is the top of a mountain. The correct word is “peek,” which means a quick look.

 

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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