Often times they are grouped under spent forces and simply referred to as clichés by the English masters and purists, statements that have been recycled time without number. According to the experts, the language is dynamic and so the writer should walk with the changing time. Change is inevitable, but then the conservative fears change. He or she prefers to stay in his or her comfort zone refuses to explore and see if there are other ways to do things to fast track development. It’s been a long drawn battle between the progressives and the conservatives, so to speak. The language is not left out in this titanic war to bring sanity to bear. But don’t forget that the progressives always have their way no matter how long it would take to convince the doubting Thomas (not doubting Thomases as some would speak) that it is time to change the narrative to embrace fresh ideas.
The sit tight syndrome associated with politics and human development also affects the language just as people struggle to accept the fact that with time changes do occur in the written and spoken English. And so we now recognize what is said to be improper usage of expressions plainly identified as clichés or hackneyed words or sentences that can no longer stand the test of time. In our English lesson for the week, I would like to one more time run a list of selected phrases and words that over time have lost the shine. Their edges are so blunt that they no longer create the desired impact to be adored or make them our companion when we need to put pen on paper to express our thoughts. Some of these phrases also have their current usage associated with modern English.
Take not of them and avoid making costly mistakes that could tell how well one has mastered the changes that are bound to happen from time to time as it concerns the language. I will quickly state the most common ones that we come across on daily basis but ignore them or treat them as if they are synonyms that can be used any how without regard to the right usage. We end up confusing the reading and listening audience as to which is correct and current use of the expression. For instance, sample these expressions that are regarded as tautology or over kill that have long been rested but then we use them at our convenience even to this day. ‘This time around,’ ‘10th year anniversary,’ ‘contact the disease,’ ‘join the bandwagon,’ ‘to rub minds,’ ‘blue print,’ ‘electioneering campaign,’ ‘flag bearer,’ ‘night vigil,’ ‘wake keeping,’ ‘literally, literarily,’ ‘grounded to a halt,’ ‘converge at Abuja Nigeria’s capital city,’ ‘soothing balm,’ ‘evidences,’ ‘my grouse against him,’ ‘a police informant,’ and ‘he is a dupe.’ The list of stale phrases is long.
I would continue to highlight them as we progress. In the mean time, the English pragmatists have advice that we follow the current trend in the use of the language to remain relevant and not be left behind. And so, the current usage of the sentences listed should go this way; ‘this time round,’ ‘10th anniversary,’ ‘contract the disease,’ ‘jump on the bandwagon,’ ‘meet minds,’ ‘programme, scheme, agenda,’ ‘electioneering or campaign,’ ‘standard bearer or torch bearer,’ ‘vigil, or all night,’ ‘wake keep,’ ‘figuratively,’ ‘ground to a halt,’ ‘converge on Abuja Nigeria’s capital city,’ ‘balm,’ ‘pieces of evidence or mass of evidence,’ ‘my grouse about him or her,’ ‘a police informer,’ and ‘he is a dupe.’ In our previous lessons we noted with awe how some writers and journalists appear to be in the dark and oblivious of these changes in sentence construction, even the gatekeepers, the editor or and the presenter are not helping on this matter. They should continue to insist on the right and current usage of these expressions for the benefit of the reading and listening publics. After all, what is constant is change.