Currently, a lot of information is swirling around the media space, some of which is dressed in improper words and expressions. The focus of Editorial Conference this time is to unveil instances in both the print, the electronic and social media (the guiltiest) and analyse them with a view to proffering correct alternatives as much as possible.

As usual, to make the lessons as casual and enjoyable as possible, the case sentences come with humorous side comments that also serve as cues to the corrections.

There is no claim to perfection in this exercise and your participation and contributions would be highly appreciated.


CASE SENTENCE: More people have contacted Corona Virus in Nigeria than been reported. (Reported via telephone or WhatsApp?)

ERRORS/ANALYSIS: There are 3 language errors in this sentence:

ERROR 1: Diction – Wrong word. The words contact and contract appear similar, though they are spelt and pronounced differently. That apparent similarity accounts for one being frequently misused for the other.

ANALYSIS: The word contact as a noun means, “the state of physical touching

The synonyms (other words that mean the same thing, depending on the context) include:

Touch, touching, proximity, exposure, contiguity, junction, union, tangency, association, connection, communication, intercourse, relations, dealings, traffic.

Also, it means “the action of communicating or meeting.”

E.g. Isolation forbids contact with family members.

Similar words in this context include (physical) communication, connection, correspondence, touch, association.

As a verb, contact means, communicate with (someone), typically in order to give or receive information.

E.g. Contact the NCDC immediately if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

The verb contract, in relation to disease, means:

To catch or acquire an illness through the exposure to a contagious pathogen. However, one may also contract a disease that is non-communicable such as cancer. Contract a disease is a verb phrase, related terms are contracts a disease, contracted a disease and contracting a disease.”

Therefore, a disease is contracted and not contacted.


ERROR 2: Spelling

ANALYSIS: The disease in question is spelt as one word: coronavirus and NOT Corona Virus

NOTE also that it is written in sentence case and NOT Title Case. The C is capitalised only when the word appears at the beginning of a sentence.


  • Coronavirus is a dreaded disease.
  • Everyone is scared of coronavirus.

It might help to keep in mind that the disease hypertension is not spelt as Hyper Tension.


ERROR 3: Parsing – Wrong syntactic function of part of speech

The words been and being are similar, though they are phonetically (in sound) and lexically (in vocabulary or word form) different.

Being is the present participle of the verb to be while Been is the past participle of the verb to be.

Being is used to describe an ongoing process or event.

E.g. Many people are being tested for coronavirus (ongoing).

Been is used to describe a completed process or event.

E.g. The people quarantined have been tested for coronavirus (completed).



More people have contracted coronavirus in Nigeria than being reported.


NEXT CASE SENTENCE: The President is in consultation with the Governor’s of New York and California.


Have you come across a wrong coronavirus-related word or expression? Present it in the COMMENT section of the NewsPlus FACEBOOK POST and let’s analyse it together.

REMEMBER: A good way to learn is to share what you know with the hope that those who don’t know would learn from you and those who know better than you would correct what you thought you knew.

See you in the next class!


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