Age doesn’t catch up AGAINST you; instead, it catches up WITH you

I shall move straight to the task of sharing gems gathered over the past week, courtesy of at least one reader and of course, yours faithfully, the bearer of this weekly “burden” of highlighting how we of the Fourth Estate do, at times, skid and slip, ending up writing in ways we shouldn’t. So, here we go…

On the Friday edition of the tabloid associated with this columnist, there’s a big story running from Page 12 to 13, entitled, ‘The Lab: A creative crew taking entertaining a notch higher’. Therein, the scribbler shows like he’s quoting the founder of the said crew, one Mr MT, and writes:

“The Lab means laboratory .It means mixing urban music, DJs (sic!) and OTHER instruments to create live music.”

I’ve had the occasion to caution our scribbling colleagues on the falsity of throwing in the adjective “other” carelessly. Let me do it again (trust the old teacher in me!) by saying the following: using this adjective, gives the idea that the noun you’re now introducing is in the same category as the one you mentioned immediately before. Like, if you say, for instance: “In the audience were MCL managing editor Bakari Machumu and other reporters”.

That would be wrong! Why, because Mr Machumu isn’t a reporter at the MCL; he’s the MCL chief executive officer. However, if you’re overly keen to lump together the media organisation’s senior-most boss with his scribbling cadres, feel free to say the following: “In the audience were managing editor Bakari Machumu and OTHER MEMBERS of his MCL staff, including reporters.”

Let me redo our colleague’s quote: “The Lab means laboratory .It means mixing urban music, DJs and SEVERAL (not other) instruments to create live music.” The reason is, contrary to what the sentence suggests, urban music and DJs are NOT instruments!

A communicator also errs when he precedes a quotation with the determiner “that”, like the scribbler of the ‘The Lab’ story has done in one of the paras in Leg 3 of his text. He writes: “K-Flip added THAT, ‘The K-Flip DJ-ing for The Lab is very different from the one doing gigs…’”

By the way, I’d go for the verb “deejaying” instead of DJ-ing.

We proceed to another copy in our hands, namely the Saturday, June 25 edition of Bongo’s senior-most broadsheet, whose Page 20 has a hugely bold headline that reads, ‘Matola hails Wawa’s diligence’.

In this one, the scribbler says at the end of Para 5 in regard to the outgoing Simba SC defender, Pascal Wawa:

“He is a well disciplined player whose performance remains constant despite age catching up AGAINST him.”

Phrasal verbs are idiomatic in nature, which means they’re fixed in the way they’re used. “Catch up” is one such speech category—it stands alone, but if you’ve to use it with a preposition, then you need to say catch up WITH (not against) something else. So, age is catching up with Pascal Wawa.

A reader, one Kipupwe Rajab of Dar, drew my attention to a Page 1 story, appearing in Bongo’s senior-most broadsheet of Monday, June 22, whose headline read, ‘Govt unveils new HIRES’.

We all are (or should be) fully aware that “hire” is a verb, but the sub-editor used it as a noun. This verb, says our wordbook, means, one, “to obtain the temporary use for an agreed payment.” Two, it means “to employ someone for wages.”

Let’s not fuss further about it and state this: our subbing colleague who handled the headline should have simply used this good old, simple word, “jobs”—Government unveils new JOBS!

Ah, this treacherous language called English!

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