We are not done yet with the long winding expressions that should be shortened or contracted. Think of them as clichés and worn out words that have been repeatedly used that they no longer excite or compelling. Begin now to discard statements that often dance around you or are within your reach each time you write or verbalise the word. They are always there begging to be engaged. Ignore them and go for that short and straightforward expressions that are livelier and smarter than the over recycled ones. We kill monotony and boredom by taking in fresh ideas. After all, the popular maxim that variety is the spice of life still holds sway. The phrases “draw the attention of ” and “exceeding the speed limit” frequently show up in the written and spoken word, especially so among those I call grammarians. They indulge in long winding statements and hyperboles to impress rather than express themselves unmindful of the fact that they are writing for and speaking to a wider audience made up of the sophisticated and learned and the not too educated.
Some prefer to call them semi illiterate persons. For the average reader or listener, wordy and long sentences could distract him or her, making it impossible to understand or assimilate the message. In this case the message is lost and makes little or no meaning to the receiver. It is advisable as a writer to use short but simple expressions to get the reader or listener on your side. If you are the type who fancy flowery language laced with anecdote, you are simply writing for a narrow audience such as the academia in the ivory tower. But not for the publics that cuts across the society. Let’s now task ourselves and see how we can look for a better alternative phrases or synonyms that would replace the over flogged clichés “draw the attention of” and “exceeding the speed limit” statements. Always bear in mind that you bore the audience-the listener or reader when you engage the same word or phrase over a longer period than necessary, whether in the spoken or written word. For instance, a fitting replacement for the over used expression “draw the attention of,” ‘show’ simplifies the rather wordy and hackneyed phrase “draw the attention of” statement. If we want to go further, and away from the ‘show’ expression and not to sound the same, day in day out, ‘remind’ or ‘point out’ replaces ‘show.’
That way, one is said to exhibit a deeper knowledge and understanding of the language. Again, one would not be accused of sounding monotonous and boring. Similarly, we can contract or reduce the over laboured expression “exceeding the speed limit” to a shorter and simple phrase that everybody would understand. Write ‘speeding’ instead. Clearly express your thought to avoid being misunderstood. In the same vain, don’t get stocked with the noun ‘speeding’ as is the case with some writers, you can conveniently settle for ‘speedy,’ ‘fast,’ or ‘over speeding’ to subdue the monotony of “exceeding the speed limit” expression. A reminder. I still hear the majority of people speak or write ‘‘knowing fully well” when they meant to say “knowing full well.” The language purists and the masters insist that the correct usage of the phrase is “knowing full well” and not “knowing fully well.” The rules cannot be bent or changed at the convenience of the speaker or writer. I am disappointed just as the English pragmatists are also weary of the unrestrained Nigeria coinage ‘upliftment’ repeatedly used in churches to tell of God uncommon favour or blessing. The correct usage of the word is either ‘uplift’ or ‘uplifting’ depending on the context in which it is used. If in doubt search it, you can’t find ‘upliftment’ in a standard dictionary, but is steadily gaining currency though to the embarassment of the language experts.