Where, there

SAMPLE 1: “Some where of the opinion that the Pastor should have been left to God’s judgement because of a verse in the Bible where God said ‘Touch not my anointed’”(Meet Pastor Bakare who was caught while trying to sleep with a church member in Akure, Opera News Hub, Sunday, 5 July, 2020)

Let’s pay attention to the context in which the word where occurs in the following structure: “Some where of the opinion that…” The choice here constitutes a stupendous error. It is astounding that anyone would insert the wh- word where in the position in which it occurs in this structure.

My guess is that the error stems from a pronunciation crisis on the part of some Nigerians who often pronounce were as where (and presumably vice versa). It is likely the case that they would select where or were blindly in a context requiring just one of them. In other words, the two words remain undifferentiated in reality. Elementary as these issues are, it is expedient to illustrate the usage of the words involved to avoid the risk of misleading young and vulnerable readers.

Please read the following sentences illustrating the usage of the verb were: 1) If I were you I would not borrow a kobo for the burial of such a useless relative. 2) Janet and Ajetunmobi were husband and wife until December last year. 3) The girls were punished for coming late. 4) All the bills were thrown out by the National Assembly because they wereallegedly sponsored by the opposition party. 5) The patients were discharged prematurely because the health workers had gone on strike. 6) The children were always complaining about their father’s absence from home. 7) The two women were always trading insults in public. 8) The five names that were initially on the reserve list were later brought to the main list. 9) The villagers were not interested in talking to the police. 10) The offensive clauses were later removed from the constitution.

Please note that like is, am, was, and are, the word were is a form of BE. It occurs in contexts similar to those in which the other forms of BE occur. But specifically, it is: 1) used with plural nouns 2) in its past form. Actually, it is the past form of are.

Now compare its usage with that of where: 1) Where were you when the inspector arrived? 2) Where would you like to spend the next holidays? 3) Where in western Nigeria is the place in which hot water is flowing side by side with cold water? 4) Where are you living? 5) Nobody seems to know where the information leaked. 6) You should know that where your right ends is where another person’s right begins. 7) Where else in Africa is the press as vibrant as our own? 8) He is so energetic that one sometimes wonders where the energy comes from. 9) I will continue to live in Lagos, where I have lived for the past ten years. 10) I don’t even know where to start. 11) Where is your faith, you doubting Thomas?

Please let the verb were replace where in the context under consideration.


Sample 2: “These girls left there parents’ homes at Gbagada GRA this morning to come and give their female friend a surprise birthday gift at her cousin’s house.”(Outrage as UNILAG undergraduate arranges 7 boys to rape her friends…Opera News Hub, 16 June, 2020)

I draw readers’ attention to the form there which occurs in the following context: “there parents’ homes at Gbagada GRA.”Anyone with elementary education would immediately identify the error in the use of the word there. It is interesting that the form their which is the appropriate word here is used correctly a few words later: “their female friend.” It is obvious that the writer has no grasp of the grammatical difference between the forms there and their.

In the light of this, it is important to 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.



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