The beauty of English language is the ability to use English words correctly. English language is one of the most complicated language in the world. Most people, students to be precise, think English language is the easiest course to offer, but it is actually not true. To say the least, mathematics is far more easier than English language. To be able to use English words correctly, you must be aware of inert and trivial factors you consider as useless but in real sense they are Paramount.
In this article, Iam going to explain some selected word and it's wrong usage. Most of these words are even used wrongly by top celebrities and our teachers.
1. HYPHENATED NOUNS
Almost everyone is guilty of this. There are some words in English language when hyphenated do not require plural. For example, the correct form of PTA is " Parent - Teacher - Association " and not the widely used " Parents - Teachers - Association". So the former is the correct form of the latter.
It is grammatically wrong to use" OWN" when the genitive case of a noun is preceded by a verb without another noun after it.
For example, " That book is Jude's own". It is grammatically wrong because " own " cannot end a possessive sentence.
Therefore, the correct thing to say is this, " That book is Jude's own book or that book is Jude's.
3. THE USE OF STAFF
Practically everyone is guilty of this. Staff is not used individually or used to refer to an individual. Take for instance,
A) Stephen is a staff of First Bank. ❌
B) Stephen is on the staff of First Bank.✅
C) Stephen is a member of staff of First Bank.✅
So, from the three sentences, you discover that the first sentence is absolutely wrong. Thus the correct thing to say are the second and third sentences.
4. RECIPROCAL PRONOUNS
This is one of the mostly confused words used in English language and as such the speaker don't clearly convey the required meaning. Look at this sentence, " Joseph and Josephine love themselves. The speaker inadvertently ended up saying that Joseph loves himself and Josephine equally loves herself whereas he wanted to convey that the both are in love.
Therefore, the correct thing to say is this; Joseph and Josephine love each other.
Others include; James and John saw themselves at the party. This sentence is absolutely wrong because it means that James saw himself and John saw himself, which is wrong. The correct thing should be James and John saw each other.
5. PRONOUNS ARRANGEMENTS
Look at the two sentences below and know the difference.
A) He hates me more than her.
B) He hates me more than she.
The first sentence above simply means that he hates me more than he hates her whereas the second sentence means that he hates me more than she hates me.
Others include; She is more intelligent than I and not " me ", my brother is as clever as I and not " me ".
6. DANGLING PARTICIPLE
Take a look at the sentence below to enable you understand better.
A) Hiding in the bush, he was caught by the policeman.
B) Hiding in the bush, the policeman caught him.
Now in the first sentence, who was hiding in the bush? The same goes to the second sentence.
In the first sentence, the main clause starts with " he ", it means the performer of the action " hiding". Therefore " he " was the person hiding in the bush.
I'm the second sentence, the main clause starts with the policeman, therefore the policeman was the person hiding in the bush.
Other example includes;
A) I gave him some money, touched by his helpless state.❌
B) Touched by his helpless state, I gave him some money.✅
The first sentence is absolutely wrong. The speaker ended up communicating given to the helpless man was touched by his state. Thus, the correct way to say or write it is the second sentence above.
In conclusion, I hope this article will help you harness your mastery in English language and avoid blunders that you think might be correct.
Examination candidates are most preferable to read this because JAMB and WASSCE often ask questions about this.
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