THIS WEEK ON WATCH YOUR GRAMMAR ‘ANXIOUS ABOUT THE SHE’S IN THE PERSON OFS’

Good day everyone, you’re welcome once again to our weekly summary of Watch Your Grammar with Gird Center. We have discussed three major topics over the past week. In our first lesson, we addressed the differences between two phrasal verbs, SUITABLE FOR and SUITED TO. First of all, we established that SUITABLE FOR and SUITED TO cannot be used interchangeably. Here’s why: ‘SUITED’ expresses a specific judgement and the more direct preposition ‘to’ is therefore appropriate. This is an example of how SUITED TO can be used in a sentence, ‘He was not well SUITED TO such a life’.

On the other hand, ‘SUITABLE’ is a more general judgement and the less definite preposition ‘for’ is appropriate. An example is ‘that heavy pot is not SUITABLE FOR making pancakes.’ Here’s a hint, ‘SUITED’ is often used to express a judgement about a person, while ‘SUITABLE’ often refers to something we use.

 

In addition to SUITABLE FOR and SUITED TO, we also discussed the true meaning of the adjective ANXIOUS. In Ghana, most speakers of English often use ‘ANXIOUS’ as a synonym of ‘EAGER’. The resulting sentence from this perception of ANXIOUS as a synonym of EAGER will be in this form: “I am anxious for EL’s performance at the Awards Show”. What this sentence really means is this: “I am eager for EL’s performance at the Awards Show”.

In proper usage, ANXIOUS does not mean EAGER. ANXIOUS means ‘an anticipation of something bad’.

Here’s one way to know that you are using ‘ANXIOUS’ correctly. ANXIOUS is the adjectival form of the noun ‘ANXIETY’. ‘ANXIETY’ is an unpleasant emotion. Unless you suspect that something will go terribly wrong at the Awards Show, you shouldn’t have any reason to be ANXIOUS about it. Always remember that ANXIOUS is not synonymous to EAGER.

The final topic we treated in the previous week was Esi’s use of the phrase “she is in the person of…” in the introduction of people at functions. This phrase is not grammatically wrong. It is however unnecessary for Esi to precede her introductions with “she is in the person of”. Why shouldn’t Esi bother preceding her introductions with ‘she is in the person of…? The reason is simple; the speaker IS DEFINITELY A PERSON so it will be unnecessary to reiterate that point. Similarly, the use of the phrase “she is in the person of…” isn’t only clichéd; it is stating the obvious. What Esi should say in formal settings is: “Let’s welcome the speaker for the day, she is Ms. Mensah”.

That’s all for last week’s summary of Watch Your Grammar; until next week, do watch your grammar!

This week on Watch Your Grammar – “Deceased”

This week on #WatchYourGrammar, we take a look at two words which are often used incorrectly in Ghanaian parlance. The first of such words is DECEASED, and this word is often misused in some Ghanaian newspapers. Anytime you read, or hear, someone say “the deceased are on admission at Korle-Bu” your reaction should be that of shock, because DECEASED means DEAD. Deceased is the DIRECT opposite of alive. It is impossible for a deceased person to be alive. We cannot say “DECEASED SURVIVORS”; what we can say is this: “the victim of the attack is receiving treatment at Korle-Bu”. In a reply to our tweet on this discussion, ‏@mz_enyo asked if it was a “tautology to say the deceased died at 37 hospital. Or just say he was deceased at 37 hospital”. “The deceased died at 37 hospital” is much more correct than “he was deceased at 37 hospital”. This is because DECEASED is a noun, as well as an adjective, so to say he was “deceased at 37” will be incorrect. Confused? Let’s look at it this way: MAN and DECEASED are both nouns. Saying ‘he was DECEASED at 37 hospital’ will be like saying ‘he was MAN at 37 hospital”.

In our second lesson, we discussed how most Ghanaians often call all newspapers GRAPHIC. In proper usage, what we should say is “dailies / newspapers”. I read about the accident in the newspapers is more correct as compared to “I read about the accident in the graphic”. Remember, GRAPHIC means “visual/written or drawn or engraved/relating to or presented by a graph”.
That’s it for this week’s session of #WatchYourGrammar. We’d love to hear from you- be it questions, contributions and suggestions. Remember to watch your grammar, and see you again on Tuesday.

“You Ambushed Me” — Prof. Kofi Awoonor

ImageI am slow at swallowing any news whole.  It gets even more complex when I face bad news; I think “oh my god no!” and then I think, “maybe there was a mistake, It can’t be, how can it be?” I stay in denial for as long as I can.  And then, there is always a day that knows how to slap better than the rest of the days.  I am waiting for that day, and maybe I will accept wholly that Prof. Awoonor is dead, gone, and his flesh means nothing at all anymore.

And if we tried to, we can only hear his laughter from our memory, see his smile in photographs, visit him in books held close to our chests.  His flesh means nothing at all anymore.

“You ambushed me!” he said pointing at me.

I smiled and he smiled back, seemingly impressed by my mischief. That wasn’t the day I begun to like Prof, I liked him a long long time before then.  When he told me, ‘I ambushed him’ he was not some distant poet, whose piece I had to study to pass my finals in secondary school anymore, he was my teacher.

Prof sat in the middle of the front space in the creative writing class at the University of Ghana and asked us questions, told us stories, tickled our imaginations and laughed at and with us.

The day he said “I ambushed him” was really two days after the day “I had ambushed him.” He had given us an assignment; it was to be submitted at anytime before 2pm, two days before class. I was late, an hour long late.

“Please,” I said.

“No, I already sent away others who were earlier than you.”

“I’m sorry Prof.”

“No.”

All this while, I had one foot in his office and the other outside the door.

“Come in or go out,” he said, “I will not take your work.”

I went out with my very first attempt at short story writing. I would find out later on, that it was a really horribly written short story  but then, all I knew was that I had written a story and I wanted my teacher to read it.

I bought a brown envelope and put my script in it.  Then with my black pen I wrote at the back on the envelope, boldly and largely: “Prof. Kofi Awoonor, English Department, University of Ghana, Legon.” I left the envelope in his pigeon hole at the department’s main office.

“You ambushed me!”

I thought he would throw me out of his class. I had disobeyed him and ‘ambushed’ him and yet, I had the nerve to only smile at him without words.  And he just smiled back at me and went on with his class.

He told us that the problem with my generation is that we don’t know the names of things; we don’t bother to learn them.  Every tree is just a tree to us and when we write we can’t be specific enough, detailed enough, because, we never bothered to notice the details.

Prof Awoonor was a warm and honest teacher; he threw a party for his students at the end of every semester, he did! He always brought one giant bottle of red wine. He knew how to laugh and make others laugh. From his students he demanded imagination, freshness and fearlessness.

You ambushed me Prof!  I imagined, you would be there, when I finally gather courage to publish a book with my name on it. I wanted to see your smile again.

You ambushed me Prof!

Smile at me and let me smile back, where ever you may be.

By: Nana Nyarko Boateng @girdcenter.org