Their Fowls and Foul

SAMPLE 1: “And for those crying fowl over Nollywood teenage star, Regina Daniels’ marriage to Ned Nwoko, well it’s time to stop and move on to other things…”(Regina Daniels Steps out with Hussy, Sunday Vanguard, 5 May, 2019)

Let’s note the word fowl which occurs in the context: “those crying fowl over Nollywood teenage star.” We do know that the word fowl is about birds. But, is there anything in the context under consideration suggesting the presence or relevance of birds? Is anyone’s fowl missing? Not at all.

Misdirected or confused by his limited spelling ability, and misled by similarity in pronunciation, the reporter selected the word fowl in confusion with foul. Crying fowl over Nollywood teenage star?  Readers should please note that fowls are birds (domestic or wild). Please read the following sentences illustrating the use of the word fowl: 1) When it was time for harvest, a large number of fowls invaded the farm and consumed all the grains. 2) God will take care of His children just as He takes care of the fowls of the air. 3) Can the ebolla disease be spread by domestic fowls? 4) It is unhygienic to be keeping over five hundred fowls in one’s compound. 5) Not all fowls can fly as high as the kite. 6) By the time the fowls begin to lay eggs, you should be planning to expand their cage. 7) There are fowls that lay eggs and hatch them; there are those that lay eggs without hatching them; and there are others still that don’t lay eggs at all. 8) One characteristic that is common to all fowls is the possession of wings and feathers.

Now foul: 1) The Senator has been accused of using foul language repeatedly on the floor of the Senate. 2) Someone has broken wind: the air has become foul. 3) There is a foul pool of water behind our house which fills the whole neighbourhood with stench. 4) The relations of the deceased would not remove the corpse, claiming they suspected foul play. 5) He secured a position in the establishment through a foul means. 6) All the three fouls were penalized by the referee. 7) Members of the community have continued to foul the river by defecating and urinating into it. 8) The other team claimed the penalty was wrongly awarded, saying no foul had been committed. 9) Surprisingly, not a single foul was committed throughout the match. 10) When a policeman runs afoul of the law, who apprehends him?

At any rate, the word foul should replace fowl in the context under discussion.

 

Sample 2: “Considering what we came to know in the course of this process, there commendation of the ad-hoc committee did not come to us as a surprise.”(Edo on tenterhooks over lawmakers, Sunday Vanguard, 21 July, 2019)

I draw readers’ attention to the form there which occurs in the following context: “there commendation of the ad-hoc committee.”Anyone with elementary education would immediately identify the error in the use of the word there.

Now let’s illustrate the difference between the words there and their. Please read the following sentences: 1) There are many more people outside the hall than inside. 2) There is no wisdom in that suggestion. 3) There were rumours that the president had another woman in his life. 4) There is no reason to leave so early since the programme is scheduled to commence late in the afternoon. 5) There were many undercover security men snooping around. 6) There was no truth in the story. 7) Neither the chairman nor the secretary was there. 8) I was able to pick some useful information here and there. 9) How soon will you be there? 10) I was there waiting for you for almost three hours.

For the proper usage of the word their, please  read the following sentences: 1) Their house is not far from ours. 2) The ancient Jews and their forefathers are part of the heroes of the Christian faith. 3) Their lawyers are holding a meeting with our own lawyers next week. 4) Sadly, their plan is to destroy their opponents’ business interests. 5) I find it difficult to understand why they could not mind their business. 6) Their directors are planning to reduce the workforce. 7) It is not their duty to tell us how to run our own affairs. 8) Their students are not even half as brilliant as our own. 9) Their house is directly opposite the bank. 10) How can our failure be a reason for their celebration?

The following sentences each contain the two words under consideration: 1) Were you not there when their thugs attacked our chairman? 2) It is their fault that their representatives were not there when the case started. 3) There were a few men at the meeting who claimed to be representing their bosses’ interest. 4) A lady went there, met the children, claimed be their mother’s friend and took some money from them. 5) I was there when our president visited that country and said something positive about their political system.

It should be obvious now that the word their should replace there in the context under review.

 

Sample 3: “With time even the children became addicted to his jokes that their parents equally began to pick interest in his works.”(We are immortalizing Baba Sala, The Nation, 21 July, 2019)

Let’s note the word that following the word jokes directly in the context: “the children became addicted to his jokes that…” The inclusion of that word (that) fails to fulfill a condition: It ought to have been preceded somewhere in the structure by the word so.

The following sentences illustrate the so-that structural pattern: 1) The power supply from the national grid is so unstable that all owners of small businesses have alternative ways of obtaining power. 2) The man is so poor that he cannot afford to send his only child to a public primary school. 3) It was so hot inside the house that we had to sleep outside. 4) The cost of living is so high in Abuja that only successful businessmen or corrupt civil servants can live there and have savings. 5) His voice was so loud that we felt he did not need a public address system. 6) He was so contemptuous of the leaders that he refused to honour them with his presence at the meeting. 7) He was so obsessed with fame that nothing else, not even the welfare of his family, mattered to him. 8) Technology was so strange at that time that people would recoil on sighting the camera. 9) She is so careless with her tongue that she drops pejorative information about her husband even among her husband’s enemies. 10) He is so promiscuous that he does not discriminate between infants and mature women. 11) His case was so bad that even his lawyers did not give him any assurance of victory. 12) The disagreement was so severe that the business partners had to part ways.

The point requiring emphasis is that we cannot use the word that as it is used in the context of the sample sentence without it being preceded somewhere in the structure by the intensifier so.

The structure should read: “the children became so addicted to his jokes that…”

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