BY THEIR GRAMMAR YE SHALL KNOW THEM!

Do not allow ‘attractive’ propositions throw you off the red flag(s) symbolised by the atrocious grammar characteristic of scammers. Our case sentence is taken from a message by a Ponzi scheme disciple who hacked into a WhatsApp group.

CASE SENTENCE

  • And its called the Rich connect investment platform,and its federally approved by the government under the cooperative affairs commission of the federal republic of Nigeria.

There are up to a dozen (12) language errors in this single sentence.

That sounds impossible, but let’s identify and analyse them one after the other.

Error 1: Dangling conjunction

Case: And its called the Rich connect investment platform…

Analysis: Conjunctions are used to join two parts or elements in a sentence. The conjunction ‘And’ used at the beginning of this sentence serves no such function. In fact, it serves no function at all; therefore, it is redundant. This is why it’s not advisable to begin a sentence with ‘and’, except it’s meant to serve a literary purpose, as in poetry.

Correction: Its called the Rich connect investment platform…

Error 2: Parsing

Case: Its called….

Analysis: Possessive for Contraction. ‘Its’ is the possessive form of ‘it’.

Example:

  • The car is old, but its colour is nice.

‘It’s’ is the contraction (short form) of ‘it is’ or ‘it has’.

Examples:

  • It’s (it is) a 1995 model.
  • It’s been (it has been) refurbished several times.

This is a very common error. Many people use one instead of the other.

Correction: It’s called the Rich connect investment platform

Error 3: Punctuation

Case: It’s called the Rich connect investment platform

REMEMBER: Punctuation is the use of spacing, conventional signs, and certain typographical devices as aids to the understanding and correct reading of written text, whether read silently or aloud (Wikipedia).

Analysis: Missing comma/colon after ‘called’ to introduce what the scam is called.

Correction: It’s called, the Rich connect investment platform

OR

It’s called: the Rich connect investment platform

Error 4: Punctuation

Case: It’s called: the Rich connect investment platform

Analysis: Missing inverted commas to set off the name/title of the scam.

Correction: It’s called: ‘the Rich connect investment platform’

Error 5: Mixed case application

Case: It’s called: ‘the Rich connect investment platform’

Analysis: Title written in both title case and sentence case.

NOTE:

Title case rules:

  • Capitalise/Capitalize (American English) the first and the last word.
  • Capitalise nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions.
  • Lowercase articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions.
  • Lowercase the ‘to’ in an infinitive (I want to explain).

Sentence case rule:

  • Capitalise only the first word and any proper nouns.

The sentence case is the standard form for writing headlines, especially in the UK.

Correction: It’s called: ‘The Rich Connect Investment Platform’

Error 6: Punctuation

Case: It’s called: ‘The Rich Connect Investment Platform’,and its federally approved…

Analysis: Missing space between the comma after ‘Platform’ and the next word, ‘and’.

Correction: It’s called: ‘The Rich Connect Investment Platform’, and its federally approved…

Error 7: Same as Error 1

Case: … and its federally approved…

Analysis: Possessive for contraction

Correction: … and it’s federally approved…

Error 8 (Especially in broadcasting): Run-on sentence

Case: It’s called: ‘The Rich Connect Investment Platform’, and it’s federally approved by the government under the cooperative affairs commission of the federal republic of Nigeria.

Analysis: REMEMBER that in broadcasting, the shorter the sentence, the better. Here, two independent clauses (that can stand on their own as separate sentences) are unnecessarily yoked together with the conjunction ‘and’ in such a way that one runs into the other.

Correction:

  • Sentence 1: It’s called: ‘The Rich Connect Investment Platform’.
  • Sentence 2: It’s federally approved by the government under the cooperative affairs commission of the federal republic of Nigeria.

Error 9: Clumsy/Awkward expression

Case: It’s federally approved by the government.

Analysis: What?! Do you have locally approved, stately/regionally approved and federally approved?

Correction: It is approved by the federal government. (Big lie!)

Error 10: Redundant preposition

Case: It is approved by the federal government under the cooperative affairs commission

Analysis: How? Was it approved in an underground office at the cooperative affairs commission? The preposition ‘under’ should be put asunder.

Correction: It is approved by the (federal government’s) cooperative affairs commission.

Error 11: Fallacy

Case: It is approved by the federal government’s cooperative affairs commission.

Analysis: There is a red flag here that should make a discerning nose to begin to smell foul play. There is no agency or institution in Nigeria known as the ‘cooperative affairs commission’.

Case closed!

 

EXERCISE

We shall reopen the case with the mistake(s) in the next CASE SENTENCE:

  • It is approved by the federal government’s cooperative affairs commission of the federal republic of Nigeria.

Identify and analyse the error(s) in the sentence above.

Please, provide your answer(s) as  a response to the Facebook post.

See you in the next class!

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