Seizing and basis

Sample 1: “Such politicians were not only shamed, they were given long prison sentences and their ill-gotten wealth ceased by the military.”(PMB at 77, The Nation, 15 December, 2019)

I draw readers’ attention to the word ceased which occurs in the following context: “their ill-gotten wealth (was) ceased by the military.” No doubt, the context suggests that the word means: forcibly taken; taken by force. That is what the context suggests particularly with the involvement of ‘the military.’ The military is associated with force, the used of arms.

But is that the meaning of the word cease? It is clear to me that the reporter mixes up the identities of two words: cease and seize.  This is a common error among Nigerian users of English.  The next task before us is to demonstrate the difference between seize and cease on the one hand, and the difference between both and size on the other.



When you seize a thing, you take it by force or by law.

The following sentences illustrate how the verb is used:


The army first seized power in Nigeria in 1966

The police have seized the contraband.

They seized the thief by the hand.

The manager seized the opportunity of the industrial action to appoint people close to him into key positions.

The handsets were seized by the teacher because the pupils were playing with them while the class was in progress.

Acting on a court order, the EFCC has commenced the process of seizing the politician’s properties.

The boys seized the opportunity of their father’s absence to use his car.

The students should have seized the opportunity of the long strike to learn some trades.


The noun form of seize is seizure e.g.  The frequent seizure of power by the army has truncated the growth of democracy in developing countries.



To cease is to stop or come to an end or go out of existence

Read the following sentences:


The law has ceased to exist.

The College has ceased offering courses in management.

He ceased coming to school last week.

The shenanigans of the politicians do not cease to intrigue international observers.

Lack of regular supply of electricity has forced many factories to cease operations.

The government’s involvement in the funding of such businesses will cease as from the next fiscal year.

Education ceases when life ceases.

The noise went on for hours without ceasing.


The word can also be used as a noun as shown in the sentences that follow:


He has been working without cease.

John has been writing without cease


Another noun form of the words is cessation:


Death is cessation of life.

He appealed for cessation of war.



The noun size has to do with dimension or measurement:


That shirt is not my size.

The blouse is a size or two too large.

That building is about the size of ours.

I’m trying to size him up.


Sentences (1) – (3) are about measurement or dimension.  In sentence (4),   the word size is used as a verb.  In that sense, it is a colloquial expression meaning to form a judgment or opinion about.


Please read my own sentences again and form sentences of your own using the words size.  Note the spelling and meanings.

At any rate, the word seized should replace ceased in the context under review.


Sample 2: “On daily basis, its National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomale, talks tough, vowing no retreat no surrender.”(Tensions as Reps-elect await zoning of Speaker…Sunday Vanguard, 31 March, 2019)

Let’s pay attention to the expression, “on daily basis”, which occurs in the following context: “On daily basis, its National Chairman.”

We have made the point emphatically in an earlier discussion that there should be an indefinite article (a) before the word daily as another modifier of the noun basis. As a singular countable noun, the word basis requires that article.

Now read the following sentences: 1) The meeting holds on a regular basis. 2) The allowances are paid on a monthly basis. 3) The training sessions are held on an annual basis. 4) Workers are employed on a part-time basis. 5) Contrary to your view, there is a basis for rejecting the application. 6) Meetings are held on a monthly basis. 7) Children and adults should wash their teeth on a daily basis. 8) The police patrol the area on a weekly basis. 9) Methods and approaches are changed on a yearly basis. 10) Budgets are prepared and presented on an annual basis. 11) Guards are changed on a regular basis.

Note that in each of those sentences, the word basis is in its singular form. It is important to note the spelling. Note, in addition, that the word is modified by a/an. This modifier is obligatory.

Now compare those sentences with the following: 1) I have two bases for objecting to that proposal. 2) The philosophical bases for the argument are quite sound. 3) On both theological and moral bases, the idea is repugnant. 4) The chairman insisted that people must provide rational bases for their suggestions. 5) I am trying to examine the bases for the various arguments presented.

It is as ungrammatical to use the singular form (basis) without the indefinite article a pre-modifying it as it is to allow that word (a) to pre-modify the plural form (bases). You shouldn’t say: “She visits us on regular basis.”  Rather say: “She visits us on a regular basis.”  Do not say: “There are a sound bases for their arguments.” Rather say: “There are sound bases for their arguments.”

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