Proficiency in English: Common Blunders You Need to Avoid in English Language


English language is one of the most common and prestigious languages, this is because the language is spoken in several parts of the world, it is the lingua franca in some countries and interestingly, the official language of many nations, especially those that were colonised by the British. Inevitably, while these people try to speak English which isn't their native language, they commit a lot of blunders. I'll focus on some of those blunders committed by Nigerians. It is important to know that Nigeria is a country that has over five hundred and forty (native) languages.  

The blunders that will be discussed in this article consists of mistakes of tautology, and overgeneralisation of brand names. I have been guilty of some of them in the past and you might find your mistakes in some of them. Mistakes of overgeneralisation occur when a particular brand becomes popular in its field and people wrongly adopt it, and begin to identify  every product in that area as that brand. Hang on and enjoy the rest of the article. 

1. Maclean: Maclean is actually a brand name, it is a type of toothpaste and not the general name for toothpaste itself. It is not uncommon to hear people say 'I want to buy Maclean', and the seller will ask 'which type', and they'll say 'Closeup'. Please take note, the product is called toothpaste. 

2. Gala: You might probably be guilty of this too,  but you're not alone. Wonderful people, I tell you with joy that Gala is the name of a brand/company, not the product itself. The name of the snack itself is sausage roll. I have gone to a trader several times asking them to give me 'Bigi Gala'. It is totally wrong but my fear is that they might not know what a sausage roll is if I request for that. However, it isn't right to keep using the wrong word, it's better to correct them, that way you'll speak correctly, and they'll learn as well. 

3. Indomie: For most noodles lover in rural areas, you'll likely understand this. Indomie is a company/brand, don't refer to Golden Penny noodles as Indomie. The general name of the product is noodles. 

4. Maggi: Maggi is actually a type of seasoning cube used in cooking to enhance taste. But, I have observed that people call all types of seasoning cubes Maggi, I have heard people saying give me Knorr Maggi, please take note that they are from two different brands and companies of seasoning cubes. 

5. NEPA: My people, NEPA is an acronym that means National Electric Power Authority. But in Nigeria, we've had several other power holdingcompanies after NEPA. For instance, we've had PHCN (Power Holding Company of Nigeria) and several others, especially after regionalisation and privatisation of power. We do have several others now like: IBEDC (Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company), BEDC (Benin Electricity Distribution Company). Ultimately, the moment light is been restored you still hear people saying or practically shouting 'Up Nepa' especially in rural areas that barely enjoy power supply. People still talk about paying NEPA bill. 

6. Omo: Omo is a brand of detergent, however, some people still think it's synonymous to detergent and not just a type of detergent. The general name is detergent. There are different types like: Omo, Ariel, Sunlight, Waw, So Easy, Klin etc.

Note: The other four examples are clear examples of tautology and fluff. Tautology simply refers to unnecessary repetition within a phrase or sentence. 

7. Pure Water: Pure water is basically any water that is safe and healthy for use. A lot of people refer to sachet water as pure water which is totally wrong.

8. Short Knicker: People say short knicker but, this is just a repetition, saying shorts or just knickers is sufficient and both bear the same meaning. 

9. Torch Light: What we call torch light is best put as torch or flashlight. Torch light isn't correct, it can be categorised as tautology as well. Tautology refers to mere repetition. 🔦 

10. Pant Trouser: To the best of my knowledge, pant and trousers mean the same thing. I know a lot of people in this part see pant as an underwear only but, it means trouser as well. It is appropriate to just say pants or trouser. 

I hope you've been able to learn something today, you can help us make learning more fun by dropping comments of other examples you know. Thank you for reading.


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