The cliché, ‘more grease to your elbow’, unfortunately and shamelessly has become the standard on the airwaves- Radio and Television, and the Newspapers. Be warned that the expression, ‘more grease to your elbow’, is now obsolete, and not to be glamourized or let alone taking space on the airwaves; spoken at gatherings or written on papers. The intensity by which many are engaging the phrase in this modern era is becoming somewhat alarming, if not embarrassing to the language pragmatists. We must make amend and embrace the current usage of the expression away from ‘more grease to your elbow’.
The tired phrase is one among the idiomatic statements that can no longer stand the test of time. Dump it and look for better alternative or synonym to show that you are in grip of the language of mass communication. To buttress my point, only recently, one of the private and leading radio stations in Lagos, I thought should know, or could it be the fault of the editor, or the other gatekeepers that also has the presenter or anchor to answer for it, went on air and announced the infamous and hackneyed expression, ‘more grease to your elbow’, referring to a young lad who probably has answered correctly two or more questions asked during a phone-in programme.
I cringed as I was left pondering over what crossed my mind as a silly mistake by the presenter who is still romancing with the dead phrase, figuratively speaking, ‘more grease to your elbow’. Again, the non-conformists, who are dead to change, or that they are immune to change and stick to the old way of doing things, or that they just want to stoke the fire to generate unnecessary controversy. Sometimes I think they indulge in this act to test the will and patience of the purists and masters of the language. Coming to righting the wrong, the statement, ‘more grease to your elbow’, is no longer fashionable.
Rather speak or write ‘more power to your elbow’ when it comes to mind to say so while praising another person’s commitment to a cause or efforts leading up to positive results. Aside from giving kudos to boost one’s morale by the statement, ‘more power to your elbow’, you could also be urging the person not to relent at giving it all going beyond what is expected of him/her to achieve set goals. As much as I welcome the idea of expressing one’s thought employing maxims, epigrams- proverbs or wise sayings, and other figures of speech to instill some wisdom, and to paint vivid pictures in one’s readers’ minds, simplifying arguments through straightforward writing is incontrovertible. When you choose to write, keep it short and simple, avoid unnecessary and time wasting idioms.
You could end up confusing the listener or reader the more. Remember, you are speaking and writing for the mass audience, your choice of words and phrases must also appeal to the learners of the language, including children, the market women and those less sophisticatedpersons struggling to come to the party, speaking pidgin or smarttering English. Keep away from these exclusively Nigerian usage. The purists have tagged it as un-English statements, ‘the matter on ground’, ‘he is not on seat’, and ‘aside sport activities’. What they mean to say or suggest, is ‘the matter before me/us’, ‘he is not at his desk’, and ‘aside from sporting activities’.
Another piece of illiteracy, according to the masters of the language, is the use of the word ‘KEY’, meaning vital, essential, etc. Always make use of the synonyms to sound better and fresher. To end this piece, here is the concluding part of the feedback from one of our readers who simply identified himself as Michael (M.C.J Ofor). “Bravo! Please, which of the following statements are correct? ‘Thanks’, ‘Thank you very much’, ‘Thanks a lot’ and ‘Thank you so much’. The last mentioned is even used by highly learned people, radio and television presenters.” Mike, to answer your question, the word ‘Thank’ (Thanks, Thanking) is the verb, but the word ‘thanks’ is taken as a noun form, is usually generally used to express or show gratitude to someone. ‘Thank you’ is a polite way of acknowledging a gift, help or offer; ‘Thank you very much’, ‘Thanks a lot’, and ‘Thank you so much’, are just emphasis as a result of favours received. The expressions are all correct. It’s a matter of emphasis.