Their siblings

SAMPLE 1: “The event recorded a large turnout of attendance which signal (sic) acceptance of the Okowa candidacy and appreciation for the entertainers who came out in one accord to use there impressive followership to draw attention to the giant developmental strides of the state.”(Solidarity Concert for Okowa in Agbor, Sunday Vanguard, 6 January, 2019)

Let’s pay attention to the word there which occurs in the following context: “to use there impressive followership.” Anyone with elementary education would immediately identify the error in the use of the word there. Surprisingly, whether owing to haste and carelessness or crass ignorance, the reporter is unable to differentiate between the words there and their.

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.

Next we note the word followership which occurs in the phrase impressive followership. The point has been made in this place that the lexeme followership is unknown in English. That point is being reiterated today. .” The word followership, formed on the analogy of such words as leadership, stewardship, fellowship, kinship, and relationship, does not exist in the English lexicon. It is one of those lexical formations based on morphological misconceptions, realities now coalescing into what is commonly but mistakenly called ‘Nigerian English’. Is Nigerian English a mishmash of errors and accidental formations and ignorance-induced neologisms?

At any rate, the form followership is the Nigerian version of the word following, meaning a group of followers. Now read the following sentences: 1) Any political party that has a following among the youth is likely to win the election. 2) The politician’s following is largely in the rural areas. 3) He does not enjoy as much following among men as he does among women. 4) The limited following we have in the city is due mainly to the influence of our political enemy. 5) What money creates is a following that is dubious in its commitment and loyalty. 6) M.K.O. Abiola recorded such a resounding victory at the polls because of the huge following he had cultivated in all parts of the country. 7) A politician’s success is measured by the size of his following among young men and women. 8) The young musician has a large following among lovers of vulgar music. 9) His following in this part of the country has reduced drastically due to the scandals and bad press. 10) Jesus was not bothered by the small following he had in Israel during His earthly ministry.

Sample 2: “Faulty vehicles, reckless driving, and bad roads have combined in Cross River State to cause death on regular basis…Three siblings of the same family died in the fire…”(Badly Burnt after Ignoring Warning…Sunday Vanguard, 20 January, 2019)

Let’s note the phrase, “siblings of the same family.” By definition, siblings are people who have the same parents. Two people are siblings if they are born by the same parents. The last part of the reporter’s phrase, “of the same family” is a pointless verbiage. Does the reporter know of siblings who come from different families? If they come from different families, they are not siblings.

Next, we note the phrase, “death on regular basis.” We observe that the article (a) is missing immediately before the adjective regular. 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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