It pops up frequently in the written and spoken words, even as the English purists and masters frown at the un-English statement, “emphazising on” meaning to stress a point by the writer or speaker. To many, especially learners of the language, they see nothing wrong with the construction “emphasizing on.” But not so to the English purists or pragmatics who insist on the correct and standard English be used whether in the spoken or written words.
Be cautioned here and now that the verb, “emphasizing” takes a direct object. For example, one can correctly write or speak “the Head of Service emphasized hardwork while speaking to the Heads of Departments in the ministry.” Conversely, the noun “emphasis” requires the use of a preposition. For instance, “she placed emphasis on hardwork.” The Standard English, the masters emphasize, can not be subjected to the whims and caprices of the user, particularly for those whose English is second language and would want to bend it the way they like.
It is unacceptable, though there are no hard rules on how to engage the language. But the fact remains that there are standard rules that must be observed and followed to the letter. So it is with idioms, maxims and proverbs. I have emphasized on this column that idioms, maxims and proverbs remain the way they are. Never add or subtract from the original meaning or the message, which most times borders on teaching moral lessons.
Many writers have attempted to violate the rule regarding standard idioms, maxims and proverbs but have been told by the pragmatics to stick to the original idea behind figures of speech designed to create mental picture in the minds of the reading publics or motivate them to action, or to do something positive to better society. Another trend, that appears to gain currency and being recycled now and then, is the expression, “converge on” and “converge at.” I have taken time to discuss the correct usage of the phrase. But the non-conformists are still not convinced enough to bend.
Kudos to some of our media organisations that have taken note and adopted the correct usage of the expression in their bulletins and publications. The right expression, if I must sound it loud and clear, and for the benefit of the listening and reading publics, is “converge on” not “converge at,” when we talk about the gathering of people of like-minds to decide on issues affecting them. One can correctly write, for example, “the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), would converge on Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory on Thursday to take a common ground on the proposed strike to protest the over one hundred percent increase in electricity tariff.” Never write or speak of “converge at.
” However, it is not cast in gold that one must engage the statement “converge on” at the slightest thought of people coming together. Choose from the varieties of ways to say it and still covey the right meaning