English Language Day: Common Grammatical Blunders Nigerians Make

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On April 23 of every year, the history, culture, and achievements of the English Language are celebrated.

It is a day of global observance that usually features activities that enhance the language, such as; poetry, book-reading, and English quizzes among others.

The English language which is a world language is not only Nigeria’s official language but also her lingua franca (unifying language) due to the British colonisation of the country.

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However, so many Nigerians, out of ignorance or indifference towards the language make blunders when speaking or writing, while others do so intentionally to avoid being seen as too ‘extra’ or even proud.

Below are seven common grammatical blunders Nigerians make:

AM instead of I AM or I’M

So many Nigerians, especially when texting on social media platforms mistake I AM/ I’M (short form) for AM since also three have similar pronunciations.

You see people write ‘am good’am hungry, or am very tired instead of I am good, I am hungryI am very tired because they believe they mean the same.

‘AM’ has never and will never be the short form of ‘I AM’. The former cannot begin a sentence.

Mispronunciation of the word ‘MEME’

A meme is a humourous picture, video template, or funny quote circulated online.

As pronounced by many, the word is NOT pronounced mem, nor is it pronounced mehmeh. The correct pronunciation of the word meme is ‘MIM’.

LAG BEHIND

LAG BEHIND is a common unnecessary repetition (tautology) by Nigerians. To lag is to be behind. This means you can use either of the words in a sentence when speaking or writing, but not both.

So, instead of saying I ran because I didn’t want  to lag behind, simply say I ran because I didn’t want to lag or I ran because I didn’t want to be behind

SO THEREFORE

SO THEREFORE is another unnecessary repetition Nigerians have always made.

In the context where these two words are used side by side, we often mean to say “as a result” or “for that reason”. ‘So’ and ‘therefore’ on their own have the same meaning. If so, why use both in the same sentence?

Just say I was tired, SO I slept or I was tired, therefore I slept.

“I HAVE DRANK WATER”

Almost every Nigerian sees nothing wrong with this sentence. If “I have ate food” is wrong, then I have drank water is incorrect.

The reason for this is that a past participle should come after the verb ‘HAVE’. So, the correct sentence is I have drunk water.

ROUND OFF and ROUND UP

Nigerians have for many years used the ’round up’ when they are about to complete an activity or a task. Many Nigerians say I want to round up my teaching. This is very wrong.

The correct verb to use when we are about to complete a task is ROUND OFF. You round off a session, a task, an activity, and so on.

Mispronunciation of SWORD

The letter ‘w’ in the spelling of the word ‘SWORD’ is silent when it is being pronounced. So many Nigerians don’t know this, so they pronounce it just as it is written.

SWORD is pronounced SORD.