COMMONLY MISUSED ENGLISH WORDS, PHRASES & TENSES, EDITION 6:
1) A DEAD PERSON CANNOT BE DISCUSSED IN PRESENT TENSE, MEEEEEEN!!!
2) NBB INFOTAINMENT: “SEX MACHINE” BY JAMES BROWN
Authored By Harry Agina
I was in a conversation yesterday with a Nigerian dude. We were discussing his LATE mama, and he said, “My mom IS a very wonderful woman.” I didn’t see this statement as a big deal, at least not yet. We all have slip-of-tongue in English grammar from time to time. When this happens, some of us catch the slip and quickly correct it, and some do not catch the error, but you can tell that it was a slip when their next similar statement is done correctly. So, I said to myself…self, this well-educated dude definitely had a slip. But, I was wrong, meeeeeeeeen!!!
The dude continued in the same line of addressing his dead mama as though the woman was still alive. “She IS a woman of integrity,” he continued, “and she IS not tired of helping other people when…”
“Bros, wait just a minute,” I interrupted, cutting his sentence short. “I thought you just said that your mama is late?”
“Sure, she is,” he responded, a little baffled, obviously wondering why I asked.
“So, how come you are describing her as if she is still around?” I queried. “The woman is dead, and she CAN’T be doing all these things that you say she DOES…the dead don’t HAVE integrity anymore, they did; and they CAN’T help others as you are saying about your mama now. She DID, and now she is gone, never to help anybody anymore, meeeeeeeeen!!!”
Folks, many of the grammatical errors that I have addressed in my series on “COMMONLY MISUSED ENGLISH WORDS, PHRASES, & TENSES,” are global, even among the owners of the English language themselves. But I have to say that this particular error of talking about dead people as if they are still alive is peculiar to Nigerians. And, guess what, this is not an error of the illiterate, no sir, no ma’am!!! It actually seems to be more common among the highly literate Nigerians. Indeed, the dude with whom I had the referenced conversation yesterday has a Master’s Degree in his professional discipline, meeeeeeeeen!!!
If you don’t believe me, watch or listen to obituaries, which are common on Nigerian TV and Radio stations every doggone day; or, watch funeral ceremonies on TV and Radio today or any day soon. You are most likely to hear over 70 percent of the eulogists, moderators, or other speakers (including our state governors and Ministers and other highly placed and educated politicians, many of whom have PhDs), talk about the deceased in present tenses. If not, you have won a bet, and may contact me for your bet-winning…I would pay you, meeeeeeeeen!!!
Maybe my brethren in Nigeria just don’t want to let go of their dead people, so, it confuses them to insist on talking about them and their deeds and characters in present tenses as if the dead are still alive. I insist that my people must find other ways of preserving the memories of their dead ones, and not through grammatical blunders…hahahahahahaha!!!
And then, I must talk about another fuck-up by my Nigerian folks in talking about the dead. I will start it with a no-bullshitting question, thus: Why the fuck do Nigerians glorify every dead person when they talk about them, especially in eulogies or comments at funerals, meeeeeeeeeen?!!!
Sure, “eulogy” itself means “praise.” But, do we have to present a eulogy if the dead ‘dude’ or ‘dudess’ was a motherfucking evil person, huh? I’m like…motherfucker, don’t stand there like an idiotic hypocrite and praise a person who was evil. For crying fucking loud, you do know that he/she was evil, just because you are asked to eulogize him or her, you hypocritically say all those stupid lies about how great he or she was. Tell them, no, I don’t have anything nice to say about that dead motherfucker. Compare this to my position that, if I ever wed any woman in a church, and a priest tells me to repeat that fucked-up line that Christians say during wedding ceremonies, “Till Death Do Us Part”, I would tell the priest to go to hell. I ain’t gonna stand there and lie to God that I must remain in the marriage until we are separated by death…no fucking way!!! If the marriage goes sour, I take a fucking walk, and nobody is ever gonna make me to stay in a bad marriage that is killing me, just because I made a stupid, nonsensical vow. God and Jesus Christ are not sadists, I always say, and they couldn’t possibly have anything to do with that stupid wedding vow of forcing two incompatible persons to stay together and continue to torture each other as husband and wife until they die. And, in many cases, one of the couples actually murders the other, meeeeeeeeeeen!!!
Seriously, whenever you listen to comments about a dead person in Nigeria, especially at a funeral, every fucking speaker showers the dead with all manner of saintly encomiums, most or all of which are lies. Even the worst DEVIL’S INCARNATE on earth gets glorified as an angel as soon as he or she dies…very ANNOYINGLY HYPOCRITICAL! And that’s what I call a bunch of bullshit, meeeeeeeeen!!
And, the fucked-up hypocrites are quick to admonish you that it is not right to speak badly of a dead person. Bull-fucking-shit, I always say!!! If the motherfucker was evil when he was alive, we need to shout it on rooftops at the top of our voices that he or she was evil, to shame the devil. Don’t give me that bullshit about not speaking badly about the dead; I would actually spit on his or her fucking grave if he/she was evil, and dare him/her to come back from the dead in spirit or any form and fight me, meeeeeeeeeeeen!!!
Now, back to my topic, with the conclusion. Mind you, the NBB series on “COMMONLY MISUSED ENGLISH WORDS, PHRASES, AND TENSES” does not necessarily mean that Harry Agina is a master English grammarian who never makes any errors, or without any grammatical hang-ups; no, sir, no ma’am!!! It only means that, as a Communications Specialist, I would like us all to help each other and point out some simple errors that we commonly make, especially those of us who English is not our native tongue. So, please, go right ahead and let me know what hang-ups that you may notice in my grammar…I would appreciate you. In fact, those whose native language is English, do make a lot of grammatical errors, too. Besides, we should be proud that they can’t even speak our own native languages nearly as well as we speak their English…and, I know, that you know, that I ain’t bullshitting ya, meeeeeeeeeeen!!!
NBB INFOTAINMENT: “SEX MACHINE” BY JAMES BROWN:
I wanno complement my topic above, about the dead, with vintage music of the late James Brown of the USA, popularly known as JB, with Bobby Byrd as his backing vocalist. Guess what; JB was actually discovered by Bobby Byrd, who was the founder of “The Famous Flames” vocal group. He recruited JB into the group in 1956. Before long, JB’s showmanship and other music talents overshadowed Byrd in popularity. Their first hit single was titled “Please, Please, Please”, and it sold over one million copies. In the song, James SAYS that he FEELS like a “Sex Machine.” Yeah, I know; I have made the same error that I just condemned, discussing a dead man in the present tense, with my use of SAYS and FEELS (instead of SAID and FELT); right? Wrong! When quoting a literary or any form of published work, there is the exception to use present tense…um huh!!!
Anyway, “Sex Machine” was published/recorded in 1970, long before a majority of my readers today were born, I’m almost sure. JB was the king of “Funk Soul Rhythm & Blues” of the 20th century. He was a singer, songwriter, and music arranger; not to forget, a great dancer, as you can see in this “Sex Machine” video. He was born in Barnwell, South Carolina, USA, on May 3, 1933, and he died on December 25, 2006, in Atlanta, Georgia.
And now, presenting, “Sex Machine” by James Brown and Bobby Byrd. Be sure not to miss the subtle but titillating performance of the little cute dancing lady on the platform in the background.
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Thanks for the piece on common mistakes in English. However, I found your frequent use of vulgar words like “motherfucker,” “fucking,” etc. quite offensive as the use of such profanities detracts from the otherwise sublime presentation.
Thank you Mr. George for your view. We have communicated it to the columnist for consideration.
Greetings George, and thanks for your appreciation of the “COMMONLY MISUSED ENGLISH WORDS, PHRASES AND TENSES” segment of my “No Bullshitting” Blog (NBB). Going by your comment, I assume that you do not appreciate the main body of NBB because of the radical language, or “offensive” language, as you put it. I must say that I appreciate the DECENT manner that you made your remark. I will respond to your disapproval of the radical language of NBB in two forms, thus:
1) If you go through the “COMMONLY MISUSED ENGLISH WORDS, PHRASES, & TENSES” again, you will see that it is bereft of the “offensive words” that you complained about. As you pointed out, it is educational, and I advisedly do not use MUCH radical language in that segment so that it does not “distract from the otherwise sublime presentation.” The portion that has such words is after the educational portion. However, my general style of writing as a Communications expert (Broadcaster, Journalist, Movie and TV Programs Producer) is colloquial, rather than “formal” English style. So, though bereft of “offensive words”, the language of the educational segment is still colloquial because that’s my chosen style for the blog. I can also write in the style and language that befits the Pope’s character, too. But this particular work is ADVISEDLY radical.
2) At my present age of 63, everything that I do as a Communications expert is well thought through, and my decisions or choices are consistent with this principle. You probably have not had a chance to read any of my main “No Bullshitting” Blogs (NBB), so, I will give you the background. NBB was born of my hatred for what I call Nigeria’s bullshitting “Political Correctness” syndrome. By this, I mean that so-called “opinion-leaders” and “elder statesmen”, and too many other Nigerians hide under the stupidity of being NICE in the name of “political-correctness” when they address all the rot that is going on in Nigeria, especially when they want to condemn the rotten politics and leadership in Nigeria. My typical Nigerian culprit is too nice when he wants to condemn a crook, be it president, governor, or lawmaker (or anyone else) who is contributing in destroying Nigeria by looting or with bad policies. So, rather than call a looter what he/she is in plain, blunt, hard words to shame the devil, Nigeria’s bullshitting politically-correct people choose to beat around the bush searching for NICE “politically-correct” ways to put the words so that the subject does not get offended. Fuck that shit, I always say!!!
NBB passionately hates Nigeria’s bullshitting political correctness under which COWARDS and HYPOCRITES hide because they are too COWARDLY or too HYPOCRITICAL to say the truth without fear or favor. I grew up and live in the USA, and, NBB is an America-influenced ANTIDOTE to the annoying political correctness syndrome in Nigeria. The professional CHARACTER of NBB is, advisedly, absolutely RADICAL, with the matching language that condemns the rot in Nigeria exactly how it should be done, in STRONG, HARSH, BLUNT, ABUSIVE, DIRECT language…no fear, no favor, and no decency or ‘gentlemanism’!!! Examples of my blogs include the one that I challenged Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo state to sue me to court for calling him a crook that bought his governorship in an evil way. I dared him to try and arrest me as he threatened to arrest whoever calls him “Supreme Court governor.” And, guess what, I ensured that a lady friend of his sent it to him to read.
And, almost every week, I call the Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives a criminal, because he was indeed convicted in Georgia State in the USA for stealing, and has no business being a lawmaker, not to speak of being the Speaker. I also consistently abuse the Senate President Lawal, both of whom endorse every evil policy of Buhari, for the reason that they are APPARENTLY under blackmail due to their criminal records. If they ever disagree with Buhari, they would go to prison. I always dare them to sue me to court for constantly calling them and their fellow “loot-makers” harsh names. Today’s blog that I have just posted is on this platform, condemning the crooks Orji Uzor Kalu and Rochas Okorocha. My website is under reconstruction now, but, besides this Carl’s site, you can read NBB on my Facebook page, and my “Media Against Indiscipline” Facebook page, too.
Anyway, I trust that you must have gotten my drift on the reason for the RADICAL CHARACTER of NBB, and the matching language. Let me conclude by telling you that, if any journalistic blog, or commentary, or article competes with NBB for public popularity and appreciation, NBB would knock it out flat. You know why? Because NBB speaks the language that the people want to hear in condemning the destruction of Nigeria by crooks in the name of leaders. I have over 90 percent approval rating, which is determined through respondents on the interactive platforms that I broadcast NBB on various Facebook groups (over 10 million total membership of several groups; whatsapp groups of over 2 million total memberships; and my personal broadcast to almost 5 thousand personal contacts on my phone. Of course, there are under 10 percent respondents like you who hate the character and language of NBB. Nobody ever expects 100 percent approval in anything under the sun. But, I’m sure that you would not advise me to ignore 90 percent approval and heed the will of under 10 percent disapproval. You would call me a mad man if I did, won’t you? As they say, you don’t change a winning game or winning style. My most recent approval was just yesterday, when a High Court judge in Abuja personally called to ask me to “keep up the great work.” Like so many other highly placed persons, he wishes that he could be as bold and blunt as I am in addressing the rot in Nigeria, but his position won’t let him. He is like millions of Nigerians who thank me for representing their anger about Nigeria.