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Be Mindful of the Tautological Statements you Make!

Tautology in English is when you repeat a word or an idea in a sentence, in a way that is not necessary. In other words, placing together two words with same meaning in a sentence is Tautology.

Here are some tautological statements learners of English make; please note the italicized words:

1. In my whole entire life, I have never seen a man like him.

Is there any semantic difference between 'whole' and 'entire?' No. Therefore, the correct expression is:

'In my whole life ...' or 'In my entire life...'

2. Please give me full details of the incidence.

My dear, something that is detailed is already full, so the right expression is:

'Please give me the details of the incidence.'

3. The beginner who has just started is very intelligent.

Very funny. Biko, can you state the semantic difference between 'a beginner' and 'someone who has just started something?'

The correct expression is:

'The beginner is very intelligent.'

However,a beginner can actually just start if what he started has levels, i.e. beginner, intermediate and higher levels. So it may be appropriate to use 'beginner' and 'started' depending on its contextual reference. For example: 'My child has just started his beginner's class.' It gives your listener a clear picture of the child's level. (Thanks to my senior colleague, Sarah Daba Wilson for this wonderful addition).

Just note that there is a difference between 'The beginner who just started is very intelligent' and 'My child has just started his beginner's class.'

4. Please, tell the taxi driver to reverse back.
 'To reverse' is to move backward, so why adding 'back'?

The correct expression is:

'Please tell the taxi driver to reverse.'

5. When are you are going to return back my book?

'When are you going to return my book?'

6. My Lecturer has gone on sabbatical leave.

'Sabbatical' also means 'leave,' that is, a period of time someone does not work at his/her regular job and is able to rest, travel and make research.

Therefore, the right expression is:

'My lecturer has gone on sabbatical' or 'My lecturer has gone on leave.'

7. I went to a night vigil on Friday last week.

Smiles. I was guilty of this blunder, but I'm saved now. Lol! 'A vigil' is usually a nocturnal devotion, so adding 'night' makes it tautological.

Therefore, the correct expression is:

'I went to a vigil last week Friday.'

8. I have asked him several times to change, still yet he refused.

'Still' as an adverb has same meaning with 'yet' so placing both words together is tautological.

Therefore, the correct expression is:

'I have asked him several times to change, yet he refused.'

9. Raise up your hands.

'To raise' also means 'to put up.' Therefore, the correct expression is:

'Raise your hands' or 'Put up your hands.'

10. My mum bought short knickers for me.

'Knickers' are loose-fitting short pants, so adding 'short' to the word makes it tautological. Therefore, the correct expression is:

'My mum bought a pair of knickers for me' or 'My mum bought a pair of shorts for me.'

The Power of Punctuation 2

Who says punctuation marks are not relevant in English Language?

Punctuation marks are very important in English language as they ensure a swift flow of the writer's thought in the mind of his/her readers or audience. Proper punctuation enhances proper comprehension of a writer's thought whereas wrong punctuation deposits a different meaning in the mind of the readers or audience.

Just take a look at the writeups on the images below and you will appreciate the power of punctuation marks:

Don't you ever underestimate the power of punctuation; learn how to punctuate rightly in order not to create in the mind of your readers a meaning that is totally different from yours.

English that has Embarrassed So Many. Part 7.

English keeps on embarrassing so many because they have failed to embrace and learn it with keen interest for one reason or the other. No matter how genuine your reason would be, you can't change the fact that 'English' is the official language of most (if not all) African countries in the world. Therefore, the earlier you start learning the English language (not just English but Standard English) the better for you.
English that has Embarrassed So Many. Part 7.
Let's see other grammatical blunders that have embarrassed so many learners of English:

1. NEPA has taken light.
I am very sure you are smiling for seeing this probably because you are also guilty of it. This is a very common mistake among learners of English hence the need to address it.

Light simply means, the brightness that comes naturally from the sun, moon or flame of fire. It may also mean brightness from electricity bulb but what the speaker is referring to here is 'electricity' or 'power supply'. Therefore, the correct sentence is, 'NEPA has cut power supply' or 'There is power outage/failure/interruption.’

2. I entered the bus because of my mum's instruction.
Learners of English, especially Nigerians, have a way of 'nativizing' the English language to suit their language inadequacies, and this is clear evidence. It is a clear translation from our local languages. Using 'enter' in a place of 'board' or 'get on' is non-standard English. The correct expression is, 'I boarded the bus because of my Mum's instruction' or 'I got on the bus because of my Mum's instruction.’

3. If you don't take the drugs, you are doing yourself.
'You are doing yourself' is non-Standard English; it is a translation from our local languages. The right expression is, 'If you don't take the drugs, it is at your own risk.’

4. Driver, please stop me here I want to go down.
This is also very common among learners of English. 'To go down' means 'to fall on the ground' or 'to be reduced.' Therefore, the right expression is, 'Driver, I want to get off the bus or I want to alight from the bus.’

5. Emeka's bus carried not less down sixty passengers.
'Less' is not used with count nouns (like 'passengers' in the sentence) but with uncountable nouns. In other words, it is used to refer to the amount of things that are uncountable, e.g., less water, less sand etc. Therefore, the right expression is, 'Emeka's bus carried not fewer than sixty passengers.’

UNIPORT Resumes Registration for 2016/17 Admission Screening Exercise!

Image result for uniport logo

The Unique University of Port Harcourt, UNIPORT, has resumed registration for the 2016/2017 Post UTME screening exercise that was earlier postponed indefinitely and to such effect, the management of the school has directed as follows:
  1. The portal for online registration will be re-opened on Friday, 26th August to 12am (midnight) on Sunday, 4th September, 2016.
  2. Screening exercise in the College of Health Sciences and respective faculties will commence on Wednesday, 7th to Friday, 9th September, 2016. You will be updated with the respective venues on the school's website.
  3. Things needed for the screening test are:
  • A copy of the photo card printed online.
  • Original and photocopies of O'level Examination Certificate (either WASCE, NECO, GCE or NABTEB).
  • JAMB result's print out.
  • Birth Certificate/ Age Declaration Certificate (original and photocopies).
  • Go to UNIPORT post UTME registration portal @
  • Input UTME Registration Number and confirm pre-loaded UTME details.
  • Print slip for payment.
  • Proceed to any of the Bank Branches listed on the Registration Procedure and make payment of N2,000.00 (excluding Bank and Access Charges to an online practice test).
  • The Screening Exercise will be Computer-Based.
  • Obtain an e-Tranzact receipt showing an access code from the Bank Teller confirming the payment.
  • Login with your UTME Registration Number and the Access Code on the payment slip and print pre-loaded photo card.
  • Click on submit button and print Photo-card.
Should you need help/assistance, try the following below:

You contact the Technical Support Service(TSS) during registration by sending an email to:

Idiomatic Change in Nigeria

Idiomatic Change in Nigeria
In this article, I will be revealing to you some English idioms that have undergone morphological changes in Nigeria. One unique feature of idioms is that they don't change their forms. In other words, they remain the same in any context. For example, the idiom, 'a stitch in time saves nine' remains the same in any context irrespective of the tense that precedes it. However, Nigerians when making use of these idioms, add some inflections to some of the words. When this happens, the idiomatic recognition of such expressions is lost, thereby making them ordinary expressions with literal meanings.

The following are examples of Nigerian version of some English idioms. Please, take note of the underline words. 

1. 'My uncle's generosity is well known to all and sundries'

‘All and sundry’ means everybody, that is, all types of people. It does not take a plural marker ‘–s.'

2. 'The plan was not allowed to see the light of day'

The addition of article 'the', before 'day' is necessary. The idiom to the native speakers is, ‘The plan was not allowed to see the light of the day’.

3. 'The robbers did not know what the day held in stock for them'

The replacement of ‘store’ with ‘stock is unacceptable. The idiom is ‘hold in store’. ‘Stock’ as used here means the supply of something.

4. 'Your elevation is another feather to your cap’

‘A feather in one’s cap’ means an honour one has won or something to be proud of. The right arrangement is: “...another feather in your cap”

5. ‘President Obasanjo has been on the saddle for more than eight years’

The correct expression is: to be “in the saddle”.

6. 'By his refusal, he has bitten the finger that fed him’

“To bite the hand that fed one” is to act badly towards one’s benefactor. It is not substituted with ‘finger’.

7. ‘Those calling for national conference and yet want the government to provide social amenities are only trying to eat their cake and have it

This is a re-arrangement of idiom by Nigerians. To educated speakers, whether they are natives or bilinguals, this should be; ‘…have their cake and eat it’

8.‘There is a rumour making the rounds that the military wants to strike again’

The formal idiom is “to go the rounds”, meaning to be passed from person to person or place-to-place. ‘Making the rounds’ is a typical Nigerian deviation.

9. 'If the team wants to qualify they should gather their acts together'

‘Act’, as used in this context should not take is ‘–s’. It is fixed.

10. ‘The Abacha family is not ready to give up their “ill-gotten fortune

Standard English knows ‘ill-gotten gains or ‘wealth’ and not 'ill-gotten fortune'.

As stated earlier, idioms are fixed expressions that are peculiar to the culture of a given people hence shouldn't be tempered with. Any attempt to do otherwise will make such expressions lose their idiomatic recognition.
Thanks for reading! Hope you learnt something new?

Chimamanda Adichie's Purple Hibiscus as a Bildungsroman/Narrative of Growth.

A bildungsroman is a novel that looks at the growth and development of the main character or protagonist from childhood innocence to adulthood. It is a novel of formation, novel of education or coming-of–age story (though it may also be known as a subset of the coming-of-age story).

Bildungsroman can also be defined as a literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood (coming-of-age) and wherein character change therefore is extremely important.

Therefore, this work shall examine growth and development as a recurring idea in Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus. In other words, this work examines  Adichie's Purple Hibiscus as a narrative of growth or a coming of age story or Bildungsroman (as it is been called the Germans). The work also examines how growth and development function as a literary vehicle by means of which new contemporary Nigerian identities are produced in third generation novels.

Characteristics of a Narrative of Growth/Bildungroman.
  1. The protagonist may be an orphan.
  2. As the character develops, the character discovers his or her inadequacies.
  3. The character begins to display resentment for his or her condition.
  4. The character leaves the countryside to the metropolis.
  5. The character returns to the primordial base –there he or she measures his or her development against the primordial base.
Adichie's Purple Hibiscus as a Narrative of Growth/Bildungsroman.

Adichie uses the growing character technique to exhibit the trauma present in African society. In this novel, we will see the developmental process of the protagonist, Kambili, who is also the narrator from the beginning of the narrative to the end. In other words, we shall examine growth and development of the protagonist as a recurring idea in this narrative.

Although the narrative begins from near the end, we will see in the beginning that Kambili is immature and young because she is a shy girl. She is also shown as naïve and innocent which makes us feel for her. Kambili is obsessed with her father; she thinks he is always right and because of that obeys and pleases him. This is shown when Father Benedict commends her father for his donations and contributions in church; Kambili says: “And I would sit with my kneels pressed together, next to Jaja, trying hard to keep my face blank to keep the pride from showing because papa said modesty was very important.”(p.13).

Kambili is so naïve that even when the father causes her pain, she sees it as love. This is evidenced in statement about the love sip from her father’s teacup: “The tea was always too hot, burned my tongue, and if lunch was something peppery, my raw tongue suffered. But it didn’t matter because I knew that when the tea burned my tongue, it burned papa’s love into me.”(p.16). Even if it hurts her, Kambili drinks the tea to please her father and stays within his love.

Kambili is considered a ‘backyard snob’ by her classmates because she never talks to anyone; never has a friend.

In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, you will see the motif of growth and development throughout the novel. With regards to this, this novel is called a narrative of growth or what the Germans call the Bildungsroman. Throughout the novel, the protagonist keeps on developing from a very shy, naive person to an outspoken woman.

Kambili obeys her father without questioning his absolute rules. Let's take papa Nnukwu’s case as an example. Kambili sees papa Nnukwu as a heathen because her father tells her so. Kambili and her brother, Jaja, are asked by their father not to visit or associate with papa Nnukwu without his consent, and she obeys him wholeheartedly without asking why.

She neither listens to music nor watches television. Kambili comes of age because of her experience in Aunty Ifeoma’s house. Initially at Aunty Ifeoma’s house, we discover that Kambili, as a young girl, does not know how to do many kitchen chores such as peeling of yam, cutting of the orah leaves etc. However, later on, through the help of her cousin, Amaka, she learns to do them. (p.268).

Through Amaka and Aunty Ifeoma, Kambili comes of age. She takes a major step towards claiming her individuality. From a quiet girl, she becomes an outspoken girl. She no longer keeps quiet or allows someone to speak for her, and she no longer stutters before saying anything. This is shown when she responds to Amaka’s reaction to her simply because she tells Aunty Ifeoma that she does not know how to cut orah leaves. Kambili says: “I don’t know where these calm words had come from.”(p.177). She is surprised that she speaks back at Amaka without having bubbles in her throat as usual.

Again, Kambili questions her father’s rule after witnessing papa Nnukwu’s innocent ritual at Aunty Ifeoma’s house as she says, “I was surprised that he prayed for Papa with the same earnestness that he prayed for himself and Aunty Ifeoma.”(p.175). Papa Nnukwu’s innocent ritual makes her disobey her father for the first time by keeping the painting of Papa Nnukwu, a heathen, as opposed to her father’s rule. She no longer sees Papa Nnukwu the same way her father sees him since she witnessed his innocent ritual.

Kambili expresses her emotion to Father Amadi by telling him that she loves him. This shows that she is no longer shy. She now listens to music especially the Fela tape (p.301) and even takes her mother to the prison to visit Jaja. All these show that Kambili has come of age and is no longer subjected to her father’s oppressive act. Indeed, Adichie's Purple Hibiscus is a good example of a Bildungsroman/narrative of growth.

The Nigerian Pidgin: A Prostitute in Nigeria.

There is no doubt she has satisfied the libido of all and sundry, but nobody cares for her well-being. Everybody wants her to caress, massage and ride their horny bodies without the attention of making her a wife. They pick her up at will, use and dump her like a used condom. She has suffered the fate of women who are regarded as objects rather than subjects in a patriarchal society. What will you call this? Marginalization? That is an understatement. This is what the bible calls 'spiritual wickedness in high places,’ but I will call it 'spiritual wickedness in higher places.’ Unfortunately, this has been the pitiable fate of the Nigerian Pidgin.

There is this slang, 'who you epp?' among Nigerian youth, and I believe if this question is directed to the Nigerian Pidgin, it will provide lots of answers. The questions are: Who has the Nigerian Pidgin not helped to express his/her thoughts? Hasn't it function as a lingua franca in Nigeria? Why then do we see its users as illiterates despite the fact that graduates, professors, lawyers, doctors, engineers use it to express their thoughts? Why is its use in a formal setting frowned at? In language study, no language is more prestigious than the other, but why do we accord more prestige to the Standard English despite the numerous functions of Pidgin. Below are images showing such marginalization.

There is no doubt that the Nigerian Pidgin has improved the propagation of national ideas, linguistic, socio-cultural and political development as well as the peace and unity in our beloved country since it is the only language both the educated and uneducated, irrespective of their different ethnicity, can identify with. To further validate the authenticity of this claim, Okoh (2006) opines, "Whether language purists admit it or not, pidgin has in recent years steadily grown into a formidable linguistic force, a communicative phenomenon even institution to be reckoned with in Nigeria."

Indeed, the Nigerian Pidgin has made enormous inroads and advancements in different domains of Nigeria's linguistic life. It is quite unfortunate and pitiable that a language which has helped so many to easily and fluently express their thoughts is treated as a prostitute. It has no official recognition despite the efforts of some literary icons like Ola Rotimi and Tunde Fatunde who tried to give it an official recognition by making good use of it in their literary works: 'Grip Am' and 'No Food No Country' respectively. No wonder Okoh (2006) asserts that "Pidgin is like a child nobody wants to claim but people want to send it on errand." Similarly, the Pidgin English is like a woman everybody wants to sleep with but never wants to make a wife. For how long will you continue prostituting with a woman that isn't your wife?

The Nigerian Pidgin has been marginalized to the extent that it is now saying, 'If you don't want to give me an official recognition like the Standard English, stop making use of me because I'm tired of this prostitution!' I think I am in support of its cry because what is good for the goose is good for the gander. 

The English That Has Embarrassed So Many. Part 6

The English Language is never tired of embarrassing anyone who fails to learn it. If you see it as an enemy, it will beat you black and blue. Therefore, always visit for updates on English tutorial. On Tammy’s English blog, the right expressions are not just stated but also justified.
The English That Has Embarrassed So Many. Part 6
As usual, I will be showing you some wrong grammatical expressions used by learners of the English Language and the right way to say them. These grammatical blunders include:
  • First come, first serve
  • The textbook comprises of seven chapters.
  • The man is cunny.
  • can be able to do it.
Now let's see why they are ungrammatical.

Sentence one: First come; first serve.

90% of learners of English are victims of this grammatical blunder. The sentence is wrong because the intended meaning of the speaker is different from that of the sentence. The sentence simply means if you are the first to attend an event, you should also be the first (among the people serving) to serve the food whereas the speaker means, those that came first, should be served first. Therefore, the correct expression is, First come, first served.

Sentence two: The textbook comprises of seven chapters.

The correct expression is, 'The textbook comprises seven chapters' because the word 'comprise' means 'consist of' or 'made up of' so saying 'comprises of' is like saying 'consist of of.' If you don't want to say 'The textbook comprises seven chapters', you can either say, 'The textbook consist of seven chapters' or 'The textbook is made up of seven chapters.'

However, there is an exception to this rule. 'Comprise' can collocate with 'of' when it is in its past participle form (comprised), but in the case, you need the auxiliary verb 'be'. For instance, you can say, 'The book is comprised of seven chapters'.

Sentence three: The man is cunny.

The use 'cunny' instead of 'cunning' is a common mistake among learners of English.
'Cunny' means cunt; that is, a female's private, especially the vulva. If you are fond of writing or saying 'cunny', please, stop it after reading this tutorial. The right expression is, 'The man is cunning'.

Sentence four: can be able to do it.

Fortunately, most learners of English have realized that this expression is ungrammatical. For those still committing this linguistic crime, It is either you say, 'I can do it' or 'I will be able to do it'. The reason is, 'can' and 'able' in that sentence mean 'ability', so placing them together is tautological.

The Things Your English Teacher Did Not Tell You. Part 2

Did your English teacher tell you that English has foreign nouns or he/she only told you about the English nouns? Well, nobody is totally complete; we all need each other in order to create a balance in life and this is also applicable in language study.

Every language borrows words from other languages and English language is not an exception. When a word is borrowed from a language, two things happen: orthographically, you can retain the spelling while phonologically, you can change the pronunciation; grammatically, you can change the foreign plural or English plural.

Here are some words English borrowed from other languages and their plural forms. These borrowed words are called 'foreign nouns.'

Foreign Words.                 Plural Form
Plateau                                   Plateaux
Appendix.                              Appendices
Apex.                                       Apices
Thesis.                                     Theses
Basis.                                       Bases
Crisis.                                      Crises
Corpus.                                  Corpora/Corpuses
Criterion.                                Criteria
Phenomenon.                        Phenomena
Stadium.                                 Stadiums
Index.                                      Indices
Nucleus.                                  Necleuses/Nuclei

Now, tell me, were you told they are foreign nouns by your English teacher? I doubt but I am very sure he/she told you they are English words. This is the major reason you should always visit Tammy's English and Literary blog on www.tammysenglish

On Tammy's English and Literary Blog, we tell you all you need to know about English language because your command of the language is our utmost priority.

My Senior Colleague, Sarah Daba Wilson's Stance on Pastor E.A Adeboye's Statement

Supports Pastor Enoch Adeboye's Statement

I've been trying soooo hard not to comment on this issue that's been trending. The one on "don't marry a girl that don't know how to cook and to pray for at least an hour". But I just can't hold it anymore!
The most annoying part is that some 'chics' have seized this opportunity to 'tongue-lash' a highly respectable religious leader, a father by all standards, a spiritual head to millions of people. It is an aberration!!!!
Now, the point is...
Why would anyone even be proud of not knowing how to cook? Don't you eat?
Why would anyone not know how to pray? Whatever your religion is, shouldn't you know there is a 'spiritual' aspect to life as there is a 'physical' aspect? And as such maintain a spiritual relationship with your creator?
What Daddy G.O said was quite simple and straightforward. I consider it the best advice any father would give a son.

We live in an age where some ladies want to live lives they can't afford. You love to eat good food u can't prepare. Ooh! someone please educate me... Is it now an applaudable thing not to know how to cook or pray?

I've heard some say " You can marry her and teach her how to cook"...
My question... As a child, a teenager, a single girl didn't you eat? If you did, pleeeeeaaaase who cooked? And why didn't you learn from whoever it was that prepared your meals?

I've heard some say that there is more to a lady than being able to cook and pray...
Oh please!!! Spare me the crap!!!

You are a monumental failure if you can't keep a home. I make bold to say a 'woman' is first about virtues.
It's simple naaaaa..

Learn how to cook and pray if you don't know how to. So you don't become a problem to yourself and your home when you have one.
Just my two cents.
And plsssss don't coman argue here ooo. You can do so with your village chief!!!

Psquare's Prophecy On Buhari's Administration.

I wasn't really a fan of secular music until 2010 when my discipline spurred me to appreciate all genres of music, and ever since, it has been worthwhile.

Sticking to such escapade and seeing the current situation in the country, I recently found out that just as the birth of Christ is prophesied in the old testament and manifested in the new testament, secular artistes in Nigeria, especially Psquare, had long ago prophesied the reign of President Mohammadu Buhari and the state of the economy through the titles of the tracks of their albums (all capitalized) while other secular artistes only affirmed such prophecy through the same means.

Psquare PERSONALLY told their BEAUTIFUL ONYINYE and Nigerians that there would be a time in the country when a former military leader would be elected as the president. The president with the aim of making the country a better place would come with a change mantra and CALLABO with Baba and other top politicians who see political power as a birthright. The BIZZY BODY of these selfish politicians the president would surround himself with, will put the country in DANGER and recession. Consequently, while others will be whining E NO EASY OH, E DON HAPPEN and THIS NA TEMPTATION, the staunch supporters of the ruling party would be dancing ALINGO and asking Baba to ROLL IT.

The prophecy further revealed that while the wind of change comes with danger and recession, some heartless politicians will say to their mistresses, CHOP THAT MONEY, TASTE THE MONEY (TESTIMONY) and CHOP MY MONEY because I don't care. What a country!

The final part of the prophecy states that, Nigerians, in their state of regret and no going back, will remember a former president and say to him, NO ONE LIKE YOU, you are MORE THAN A FRIEND and we MISS YOU DIE.

Hearing the prophecy, J-Martins urged Nigerians not to relent when the time comes but STAND UP to their feet and say no to their defeat.

Wetin concern Wizkid, he said NO LELE to Psquare's prophecy, but when MR ENDOWED, D'banj,  got to know about such EMERGENCY, he added that the former military leader that will be elected president, will use members of the opposition party as SCAPE GOAT on TOP OF THE WORLD as it will serve as a deterrent to other corrupt public office holders.

Timaya, the PLANTAIN BOY, didn't say much, but in few words, he said that the prophecy was a TRUE STORY by shouting I CONCUR. He portrayed members of the change government as WAYO PEOPLE and LAI LAI people and blasted DEM MAMA using his mistress's UKWU.

Not being oblivious of the fact that LIFE ANAGAGA (ONYEBURU NA TURN BY TURN), Timaya swore never to BOW DOWN (I WILL NEVER BOW DOWN) because Jehovah is his OGOLOGOMMA.

Responding to Psquare's prophecy, 2face (aka 2baba), told his AFRICAN QUEEN and the twin brothers that this is the IMPLICATION of electing OLE (Thieves) as SENATOR(s) and leaders. He further expressed is disillusionment on this administration on one of his tracks titled BABYLON where he featured MI.

Exercising his faith to this terrifying prophecy, the Marvin star, Korede Bello said, amidst all these challenges, those that know their God shall always sing GODWIN as credit alerts, salaries and employments will never elude them.

Duncan Mighty, the PORT HARCOURT BOY, on his part, advised the president to apply AKA NA UCHE when the time comes in order to make the country a better place because wisdom is the principal thing.

The Thing Your English Teacher Did Not Tell You

Did you know there are three types of verbs? I don't mean forms of verbs because we have different forms of verb, but three types of verbs. However, our English teachers only taught us two types of verb, which are: Auxiliary Verbs and Lexical Verbs.

Today, I am going to tell you the third type of the English Verb, with examples.

Verbs are words that are used to describe processes, actions, events, state ( that is, the state of being) etc.

There are three(3) types of verb:
  1. Auxiliary Verbs.
  2. Lexical Verbs.
  3. Catenative Verbs.
Auxialiary verbs are traditionally described as helping verbs. They are syntactically dependent verbs. In other words, they require the lexical verbs to function. e.g.
I    can      write.
      aux.       Lex.

However, they are not semantically dependent, that is, they have their own meanings, e.g. 'Can' means permission (Can I take your book home?). It also means possibility (e.g. It can happen anywhere). 'Can' also means ability (e.g. I can do it).

There are two(2) types of auxiliary verbs:
  1. Primary Auxiliary Verbs.
  2. Secondary Auxiliary Verbs.
Primary Auxiliary Verbs are: BE, HAVE and DO. They are very unique in the sense that they function as both auxiliary and lexical verbs, and they have different forms.

The different forms of 'BE' are:  'be' 'am' 'is' 'are' 'was' 'were' 'being' and 'been'. It is also known as the verb 'To be.'

The different forms of this auxiliary are: 'have' 'has' 'had' and 'having.'

The different forms of this auxiliary are: 'do' 'does' 'did' 'doing' and 'done.'

Secondary Auxiliary Verbs are also called Modal auxiliary verbs or modals, and are twelve(12) in number. We have the core modals which are nine in number, and the marginal modals which are three in number.

The core modals are: can, could, will, would, may, might, shall, should and must.

The marginal modals are: ought, need, and dare.

Lexical verbs are traditionally known as main verbs, e.g. come, go, write, slap, sit etc.

They also have different forms: the base form of the verb, that is, the original state of the verb (go), the 's' form of the verb (goes), the past tense form of the verb (went), the present continuous tense of the verb (going), the past participle tense form of the verb (gone).

This is the third type of verb your English teacher didn't teach you.

Catenative verb is a verb that allows other lexical verbs to follow  it in a sentence, e.g. 'make do'.

Let's make do of what we have.

'Make' in the sentence is the catenative verb whereas 'do' is the lexical verb following it.

Other examples are:

'Help tidy'
  C.       L.
Could you please help tidy the house?

'Stop talking'
  C.       L.
Please stop talking to me.

'Help mark'
  C.         L.
Please help mark my scripts.

'Let  go'
  C.     L.
The police won't let go the man.

'Regret to announce'
   C.           L.
We regret to announce the death of...

'Start writing'
  C.         L.
Start writing everybody.

'Pretending to help'
     C.                     L.
Ade is pretending to help you.

'Decide to withdraw'
    C.                L.
You may decide to withdraw from the programme if you are not prepared to work hard.

Other catenative verbs include: 'keep standing' 'Try helping' 'keep wondering' 'need to study' 'plan to overthrow' etc.

It is important to note that very few words are catenative in English.

In sum, the 'verb' is a very unique word class in English language because without it, there is no sentence.

How Well Do You Know Your Figures Of Speech?

Give the correct figures of speech to the following expressions and get yourself a token from Tammy's English and Literary Blog:

1. To err is human; to forgive is divine.

2. Oluwale lost her mum, her iphone and her use of English notebook in an accident.

3. We came, we saw and we conquered.

4. The boy is the father of the man.

5. On my way back home, I met three gentlemen on the road.

6. Uneasy lies the heart that bears the crowd.

7. Mr Okoro is an educated illiterate.

8. Too many skirts in the room.

9. A million thanks to you.

10. It is better to be a king in hell than to be a servant in heaven.

N/B- First five commenters with the correct answers will go with a little token. All comments should be on the blog and don't comment as anonymous. Please drop your email or phone number underneath your answers.

Adjectival Wahala!

Recently, I saw a Nollywood  movie, titled, 'Nigerian poor Nigga' and was kind of embarrassed and felt pity for the person who titled the movie. The reason for such feeling is that the adjectives (Nigerian and poor) preceding the noun (Nigga) in the sentence are wrongly placed and it is so appalling that it is coming from our Nollywood.

Generally speaking, Adjectives mainly function as qualifiers of nouns. E.g.
 The beautiful girl.
            Adj.         N

In the example above, only one adjective is preceding and qualifying the noun but it is also possible to have four adjectives occurring in sequence or preceding a noun. E.g.
The beautiful,  tall,  fair  Nigerian girl.
             Adj.     Adj.  Adj.    Adj.         N

In English language, anytime you have two or more adjectives occurring in sequence, there is an order in which they must occur. However, most learners of the language have failed to take into cognizance such order or pattern and this is evidenced in the title of the Nollywood movie, 'Nigerian poor Nigga', hence the need for this tutorial. Many will even say, 'The tall beautiful girl' instead of 'The beautiful tall girl.' I no blame ona sha; learning is a continuous process but after today, I no wan hear am from ona mouth again oooo!

In today's tutorial, I will be showing you how to arrange two or more adjectives occurring in sequence. Whenever you have two or more adjectives coming before/preceding a noun, there is an order in which they occur. The things to look at for are:

Under quality, you have: beautiful, lovely, intelligent, arrogant, harsh, dull etc. The quality of the person or thing should come first.

2. SIZE.
Under size, you have to make a decision between three things. In other words, there are three things to look out for under size and they must be in this order:

a) Size:  tall, small, slim, long, short, big, large etc.

b) Age:  age could be young, old, new, modern, ancient etc.

c) Shape:  round, rectangular, spherical etc.

Under colour, you have: red, black, pink, white etc.

The adjective to be placed fourth is the province (that is the origin of the person or thing. Where does the person/thing come from?) Under province, there are two things to look out for:

a) Geographical:  Nigerian, Eastern, African, Western, Southern etc.

b)  Derived- where is the thing derived from? If it is from metal, then it metallic; if it is from wood, then is wooden; if it is from silk, then it is silky etc.

The above states the order in which two or more adjectives preceding/coming before a noun should occur. Anything aside this arrangement is termed ungrammatical.

Having said that, let's evaluate the phrase below to see whether the adjectives are properly placed:

The  beautiful, tall, fair, Nigerian girl.
       qua         size  col     geo.         N

It is obvious the above phrase is correct as the adjectives are properly placed.

Now let's evaluate our phrase of study Nollywood gave us:

Nigerian    poor     Nigga.
   geo.       quality.     N

From the look of things, I doubt if you still need a soothsayer to tell you what you already know.

But if you are still confused, the phrase below shows the sequence in which the adjectives should occur.

Poor        Nigerian        Nigga.
quality.       geo.                N

In the phrase above, you can see the quality of the person(poor) preceding the province of the person(Nigerian) thereby making the placement of the adjectives very correct.

English as a language has rules governing it and you will alter the grammaticality of the language if you don't adhere to these rules. Therefore, learn how to adhere to the rules governing English Language.

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The English That Has Embarrassed So Many. Part 5

Do you know that grammatical blunders are not always as a result of you not knowing the rules governing the English language? One might be competent in a particular language but still commit blunders when using/writing the language. This is known as ‘performance error’ and it is caused by certain factors such as: stuttering, loss of memory, drunkenness etc. Therefore, do not always see someone who commits grammatical blunders as a dullard or one suffering from language poverty.
In this part of the tutorial, I shall be discussing with you other grammatical blunders that have enslaved many learners of the English language. These blunders are:

1. I am here/writing to propose/oppose the motion which says...
2. Sir, I want to sign my course form.
3. Am sorry for offending you.
4. Please, on/off  the light.
5.The reason why I beat her is because she slapped me./The reason is because...

Now let’s see why the above sentences are ungrammatical and please, mark the underlined words.

Sentence one: I am here/writing to propose/oppose the motion which says...

Sentence one is a very common mistake among students writing their Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), especially those answering the argumentative essay. While serving in Niger State, I was given the opportunity to work for WAEC and NECO as an Assistant Examiner (AE) of English language and during the coordination process, I was taught by senior examiners of English that a motion is not a living thing hence doesn’t ‘say’ but ‘state.’
Therefore, the right thing to say is:” I am here/writing to propose/oppose the motion which states...”

Sentence two: Sir, I want to sign my course form.
Sentence two is structurally grammatical but contextually ungrammatical. It is a common mistake among undergraduates. During my second year in the university, I took my course form to my lecturer for him to sign and on meeting him, I said, ‘Sir, I want to sign my course form’ and he immediately replied, ‘Okay, sign it na.’ His prompt response gave me the conviction that I had messed up grammatically but not knowing the right thing to say, I helplessly stood in front of him until he rescued me from the embarrassing chains of the English language.

Sentence two is ungrammatical because the meaning of the sentence is different from what the speaker actually means. What the speaker means is that his lecturer should sign his course form but the sentence simply means, the speaker, seeking permission from his lecturer, wants to sign the course form himself. That is why I said the sentence is structurally grammatical but contextually ungrammatical. By context, I mean the actual meaning of the sentence.

Therefore, the right thing to say is: “Sir, could you please sign my course form.”

Sentence three: Am sorry for offending you.
Many learners of English ignorantly feel that ‘am’ is the contracted or shortened form of ‘I am.’ ‘Am’ is a form of the auxiliary verb, ‘BE’ and in any sentence, it should be preceded by a subject (the first person pronoun ‘I’) e.g. I am a boy. I am going to school. You can also have 'am' coming before the first person singular pronoun, 'I' for example: Am I the person you are referring to?

Again, the contracted or shortened form of ‘I am’ is ‘I’m’ and not ‘am’ so it is totally ungrammatical to write/say, ‘Am coming’ or ‘Am going to school.’ The right thing to write/say is: ‘I am coming’ or ‘I’m coming.’

The right expression for sentence three is: “I am sorry for offending you’ or ‘I’m sorry for offending you.”

Sentence four: Please on/off the light.
I think this is Nigerian English and not Standard English. In English language, there is no verb like ‘on’ or ‘off’ but ‘switch on’ and switch off.’

Therefore, the right sentence is: “Please switch on/switch off the light.”

Sentence five: The reason why I beat her is because she slapped me./The reason is because...
The above sentence is tautological because ‘reason’ ‘why’ and ‘because’ mean the same thing. They state the cause of an action.

The right expressions are: “The reason I beat her was for slapping me.” or “I beat her because she slapped me.”

However, the phrase 'reason why' is used by the native speakers of English and the oxford English dictionary upholds it as grammatical.

On my part, I consider it as ungrammatical because one of the definitions of 'why' is 'reason' and both are used to state the cause of an action so tell me, if 'why' also means 'reason', isn't it tautological to say, 'the reason why?’