The sudden demise of a fast-rising artist, Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, popularly known as MohBad, sent a shock wave to millions of internet users last Tuesday. I am not a die-hard fan, but my day was shattered because he was a young and popular entertainer whose wife just posted their five-month-old son a few hours before he breathed his last. As an emotional person, I strongly believe that no occurrence is more disheartening than the irreplaceable, unforgettable loss of a loved one.
The news went viral on the internet with tributes acknowledging the impact of his music. In the evening, one of the status updates that caught my attention on WhatsApp read, “Imole has gone home! I just read a bad news about his death; may God forgive his wrongdoing.” In the post, there is a grammatical error associated with “bad news”, which is the use of the article “a”.
I just read a bad news about his death. (Wrong)
I just read bad news about his death. (Correct)
The noun “news” is uncountable and singular. Therefore, it is erroneous to modify “news” with the indefinite article.
Hello, Aisha, I have a good news for you! My mother just bought an exotic car. (Wrong)
Hello, Aisha, I have good news for you! My mother just bought an exotic car. (Correct)
Since “news” is a non-count noun, it is appropriate to use singular verbs (“is” and “has”) with it.
The news of his electoral victory has been announced on air. (Correct)
The news of his electoral victory have been announced on air. (Wrong)
The news of the Nigerian economy is heartbreaking to every patriot. (Correct)
The news of the Nigerian economy are heartbreaking to every patriot. (Wrong)
The news in the Peoples Daily newspaper is always unbiased. (Correct)
The news in the People Daily newspaper are always unbiased. (Wrong)
POTENTIAL OR POTENTIALS?
It is saddening to recall that a lot of youths engage in immoral, illegal practices in their inordinate and untamed pursuit of material possessions and fame. It is no longer news that Nigeria is grappling with an alarming rate of unemployment; however, it does not justify the level of corruption.
Sadly, some teenagers with potentials have become internet fraudsters. (Wrong)
Sadly, some teenagers with potential have become internet fraudsters. (Correct)
The noun “potential” is uncountable. It is inaccurate to add the plural marker “s” to it.
Nigerians should encourage politicians with the potential to build our country during the general elections. (Correct)
Nigerians should encourage politicians with the potentials to build our country during the general elections. (Wrong)
There are many indigent students with potential in the university. (Correct)
There are many indigent students with potentials in the university. (Wrong)
Below is a sentence example from the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary on the noun: Even from a young age, it was clear that she had the potential to become a great musician.
“Potential” also functions as an adjective. In this context, it means “someone or something that can be successful”, among other meanings.
The entrepreneur lost a potential customer on Monday because he was rude.
It is quite difficult to close deals with potential clients.
IS EVIDENCE A COUNTABLE NOUN?
Last week, the judgment passed by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal made headlines in major national newspapers. While reading an article written by a legal practitioner, the use of “evidence” without adding the “s” inflection drew my attention. The noun “evidence” is also uncountable; it is wrong to say “evidences”.
If you have much evidence, it is grammatical to use “ pieces” for the quantification.
There are no evidences that the election was rigged. (Wrong)
There are no pieces of evidence that the election was rigged. (Correct)
We have many evidences to present at the court of law. (Wrong)
We have much evidence to present at the court of law. (Correct)
In addition, plural verbs should be used for “pieces of evidence”.
The pieces of evidence are being noted by the justices.
Apart from “news” that is discussed extensively at the beginning of this column, “information” is another noun considered singular and mass. In other words, there is nothing like “informations”.
All the informations we got from the police officers are wrong. (Wrong)
All the information we got from the police officers is wrong. (Correct)
To quantify the information, use “much” instead of “many”.
Please, keep our secrets. Do not reveal many information about us to them. (Wrong)
Please, keep our secrets. Do not reveal much information about us to them. (Correct)
Answer the following questions correctly:
1. My friend has ____________ for everyone. (a) good news (b) a good news (c) many good news
2. Check the manual for ____________. (a) more informations (b) many information (c) more information
3. The lawyers presented convincing ____________. (a) evidences (b) evidence (c) many evidences
Kindly forward your answers to [email protected] or 07049203179.
Names of those who answered the last questions correctly
Rasheed Fatah, Tumaka Priscilla, Bello Sulaimon, Adaeze Beauty, Alimi Olive, Jerry Solomon, Adesina Rofiat, Bolanle Olusola, Prosper Miracle, Eze Jeremiah, Odunlami Jesuferanmi and Edi Isreal.
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