The English purists and masters have put together a long list of expressions that are not only stale but redundant and therefore should be dumped or done away with. These statements, according to them, obstruct the functionality of the language, besides hindering effective communication whether in the written or spoken form. Above all, the world is in a hurry, no individual wants to be bored with long winding expressions. He or she wants to move on to perform other pressing matters. Precision and straight to the point style of writing or speaking is strongly advocated if you must keep your audience listening to you. Most serious radio and television stations never stop to remind the listening and viewing public of the need to keep their comments, especially in phone-in programmes, short and simple.
Short, concise and simple phrases ensure that you not only save precious airtime, for the broadcast stations, but effective communication is enhanced and ambiguity avoided. Editors as gatekeepers are trained to cut out unnecessary words or phrases in the treatment of scripts, as one of their cardinal roles, to better inform, educate and entertain the listening and reading populace. After all, the basic requirement of the mass media- radio, television or the newspaper/magazine is to inform, educate and entertain people who make up the different segments of the society, including children and the not too learned. Simplicity of language is the guiding principle in this case.
That brings us to the issue of redundancy, stale and overused expressions that the English pragmatics no longer fancy. The list is long, but for the purpose of our lesson for the week, I will deal with one or two of them that can be simplified without causing us any harm, but rather we communicate meaningfully and straight to the point. The redundant expression “Was of the opinion that” is one of those hackneyed statements being recycled at random even by the sophisticated Nigerian “English man,” to put it mildly. Some of our writers, journalists and reporters are guilty of this long winding statement among others space will not permit to mention here. I will bring them to you in subsequent lessons to guide you in communicating your opinions and ideas to the target audience flawlessly.
Rather than write or verbalise the phrase “was of the opinion that” or “is of the opinion that,” in the past or present tense, this can be abridged to keep it short and simple- the KISS acronym, without much effort. “Was of the opinion that” expression as I said, not (like I said,) can be condensed to read “believed, thought, held,” all in the past tense and the present tense “is of the opinion that” will equally be shortened to “believes, thinks, holds.” One would be correct to write or speak, for example, “The school principal believes that teachers are the worse hit with the non-payment of their salaries for months owing to the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced schools to be shut down.” One can substitute “believes” with the synonyms “thinks, holds” to avoid sounding monotonous. From now on, shun the expression, for instance, “The school principal is of the opinion that teachers are the worst hit with the non-payment of their salaries for months owing to the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced schools to be shut down.
” When speaking in the past tense, keep to the rule of engagement “The school principal believed, thought or held that teachers are the worse hit with the non-payment of their salaries for months owing to the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced schools to be shut down.” Whichever way you want to express yourself, the Golden Rule is to keep it short and simple for easy assimilation. Keep away from long and boring phrases capable of putting off your readers who are weighed down considering the shape of the economy and always on the march to earn a living.
You can now download the ebooks: Reporting for Radio and Television: A Practical Guide, English for Communicators : Pitfalls and Blind Spots, The General Overseer- god in the Holy Temple. Click here, pay and downloadhttps://paystack.com/pay/efcbook, https://paystack.com/pay/eminemcom, https://paystack.com/pay/over