SAMPLE 1: “If this happens, it may be difficult to guarantee violent-free elections there…It will be a miracle if in this circumstance, the forthcoming governorship election in Imo is violent-free…it is feared he may suffer some protest votes not necessarily intended against him but against the political forces that is desperate to crown him.”(Guber Polls: Worries over Violence in Imo, The Nation, 3 March, 2019)
First, we note the compound word, violent-free which occurs twice as follows: “violent-free elections” and “the forthcoming governorship election in Imo is violent-free.” It should be pointed out immediately that the compound word is defective in each case. The defect involves the class of word of the first element in the compounding. That first element, violent, is an adjective. Obviously the compound word is intended to mean: free of violence. That being the case, the first element in the compound word should be a noun and not an adjective: violence. In other words, the appropriate form of the word is: violence-free.
Let’s read the following sentences containing similar compound words: 1) Surprisingly, the essay is completely error-free. 2) Only infection-free blood should be transfused. 3) We should all endeavour to live debt-free lives. 4) Is a failure-free life attainable or even desirable? 5) Children live malice-free lives. 6) A crime-free society does not exist anywhere. 7) Work-free days are strictly for rest. 8) Young men these days want to live marriage-free lives. 9) We should drink toxin-free water. 10) A disease-free body is a blessing from God. 11) Is a corruption-free society achievable?
Please note that the first morpheme in each of the compound words in those sentences is a noun and not an adjective: error, infection, debt, failure, malice, crime, work, marriage, toxin, disease, corruption. To repeat, the appropriate form is: violence-free.
Next, we note the grammatical dissonance between the plural form forces and the singular verb-form (is) in the following context: “political forces that is desperate to crown him.” If the relative pronoun (that) refers to the noun forces, as it obviously does, the singular verb-form (is) should be in reference to that same noun. It should, however, be obvious that the noun (forces) is plural. This indicates a breach of concord. At any rate, the verb should be changed to its plural form (are) in consistency with the plural form of the noun forces.
Sample 2: “The PDP candidate, while confirming that opposition parties were ready to dislodge the APC, maintained that all the opposition parties have to come together for him to achieve the aim of unsitting the ruling party.”(Governorship Polls: How States will Vote, The Nation, 3 March, 2019)
The word that concerns us is unsitting, a word that is obviously intended to mean: dislodge/remove from a seat, position, power, authority. Let us note immediately that the lexeme does not exist in the English lexicon. The word required in that context is unseating. You unseat a president, governor or senator. The various forms that should interest us are: sit, sitting, sat, seat, seated, and seating. We may add to the list unseat and unseating. We have actually paid attention to many of these forms in the past, but it appears we have not achieved a total success in enabling Nigerian users to see the differences among them (the forms). It will do no harm if we repeat the effort here today.
Let’s illustrate their usage in turn: (1) He has been sitting there all day, expecting the news of his parents’ arrival. (2) If he wasn’t sitting down, he was pacing the room anxiously. (3) He was sitting in his usual chair, watching the television. (4) Nobody can sit down until the president has done so. (5) After pacing for a few minutes, he sat down holding his chin ruefully. (6) I have not sat down because you have no asked me to sit down. (7) Janet sat beside her husband. (8) We all sat down as soon as the Chairman left the hall.
In those eight sentences, please note the forms sit (the basic form); sat (the past simple form); has/have sat (the past participle); and sitting (the continuous form). It is especially important to note that the form seating does not feature at all. Why? Because it cannot be used in its continuous form. There is the form seating, yes; but it does not belong to the context of the eight sentences constructed above.
Now read the following sentences: (1) You can now be seated. (2) Seated in one corner of the room was one gentleman who seemed not to be a part of what was going on. (3) In this congregation, women are seated separately from the men. (4) Before seating yourself at the desk, you have to tidy up the room. (5) Husbands and wives are seated close to each other. (6) All guests should be seated before the governor arrives. (7) Guests were seated in groups of four. (8) I don’t like to be seated close to the window.
Next, read the following sentences: (1) All the seats have been occupied by our visitors. (2) It is only the person driving that can sit in the driver’s seat. (3) I usually prefer to sit in the passenger’s seat. (4) Please take a seat. (5) What used to be comfortable seats are now in bad shape. (6) Abuja is the seat of the Federal Government of Nigeria. (7) Only five seats remain unoccupied in the plane. (8) You have up till tomorrow to book your seat. (9) Are universities still regarded as seats of learning? (10) Two people can join me in the back seat. (11) The front seats are reserved for the VIPs. (12) The brain is the seat of human reasoning just as the heart is the seat of emotion. (13) The Senator’s seat has been declared vacant by the leadership of the Senate. (14) The court has instructed the chairman to vacate his seat immediately. 15) He is perhaps the most controversial person to have occupied this sensitive seat. 16) The presidential seat is the most exalted in the land.
Finally, read the following sentences: (1) The hall can seat one hundred people. (2) The theatre has a seating capacity of 500. (3) The protocol officer will take care of the seating arrangement. (4) The expansion will increase the seating capacity of the building. (5) Seating plans can be very challenging in situations like this. (6) The seating plan may change if some other big men decide to come.
Now note the following: You do not say: *”My father was *seating close to my mom”. You should say: “My father was sitting close to my mom. Do not say: *”I was *seating in the driver’s seat”. You should say: “I was sitting in the driver’s seat”. Do not say: *”Be *sitted”. You should say: “Be seated”. Do not say: *”I was *sitted close to my uncle”. You should say: “I was seated close to my uncle”.
Do not say: *”What is the sitting capacity of the hall?” You should say: “What is the seating capacity of the hall?” Do not say: *”The protocol officer is in charge of the *sitting arrangement”. You should say: “The protocol officer is in charge of the seating arrangement”.
At any rate, the form unseating should replace unsitting in the context under consideration.