Lesson 60 Problem Prepositions IV: REQUEST FOR and SEEK FOR

The party representatives requested for hard copies of the pink sheets before accepting the results.

And this sentence is …incorrect! In today’s lesson, we explain why to request for and to seek for are grammatically incorrect! Welcome to the fourth and final lesson in the series of problem prepositions. Previous lessons looked at impact on, comprise of and emphasize on. This is also our 60th lesson and we are proud of ourselves. As part of the 60th lesson celebrations, we will look at two words instead of one today.

REQUEST FOR: Request, like impact, can be a noun or a verb. That means you can say a request or to request. According to the dictionary, request means to ask for something politely or something that is being asked for politely.

To request for (as in the example above) is incorrect because the verb to request = to ask for and already has for in it, making the added for an unnecessary repetition. Let’s use  substitution to explain this one more time.

  • Sentence 1: He (asked for) a short break during the meeting
  • Sentence 2: He (requested) a short break during the meeting
  • Sentence 3: He (requested) for a short break during the meeting
  • Sentence 4: He (asked for) for a short break during the meeting.

Obviously, Sentence 4 is incorrect meaning sentence 3 is equally bad English.

However, you can make/ place/ file a request for etc. That means that when request is used as noun, expressions with for are correct. You can also say to request something for someone but you cannot say to request for something! For example,

  • He made a request for more salt to be added to his soup.
  • He requested a nice love song for his crush.

SEEK FOR: The explanation for the incorrectness of seek for is similar to to request for. Synonyms for seek for include to search/look for, to try to achieve or get.

Let’s resort to the famous substitution method to prove our point.

  • Sentence 1: The current president was (looking for) a second consecutive term in office
  • Sentence 2: The current president was (seeking) a second consecutive term in office
  • Sentence 3: The current president was (seeking) for a second consecutive term in office
  • Sentence 4: The current president was (looking for) for a second consecutive term in office.

There is no need to convince you that the final sentence is invalid, thereby negating the validity of the Sentence 3.

You are however allowed to use seek after, seek to etc but definitely not seek for.

“Whatever you are seeking in life, do well to seek to improve your English” (Quote by Charismata)

We hope you have enjoyed our series on problem prepositions. Look out for a summary soon. Meanwhile, let’s have some feedback and keep sharing. More lessons available at charismataediting.wordpress.com

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Lesson 59 Problem Prepositions III: EMPHASISE/ EMPHASISE ON

EMPHASIS ON EMPHASISE

Welcome to our third lesson in the series of Problem Prepositions. Our focus today is to look at the combination of emphasise (verb) with on (preposition) and why it could be problematic.

Now, everyone knows this word and you have probably used it a billion times already in your lifetime. And so, what new thing could you learn from the lesson? It is exactly the abuse of the word that has resulted in its improper use. And for those already bashing me in their heads because of my spelling of the word, it may interest you to know that emphasise is British and emphasize is American.

To emphasise means to give attention to something. Synonyms include stress, highlight and accentuate. Remember substitution in mathematics? We are going to use it to drum home the appropriate use of this word. We will use the meaning to give attention to something.

  1. You must (give attention to) the issue of peace during the elections
  2. You must (emphasise) the issue of peace during the elections
  3. You must (emphasise) on the issue of peace during the elections
  4. You must (give attention to) on the issue of peace during the elections.

Clearly, Sentence no. 4 is incorrect. For that reason, sentence 3 is also incorrect. It is therefore incorrect to say: to emphasise ON something. Eg. Could you empahsise on that? (No please, we won’t do that because we can’t say that!)

However, we can have EMPHASIS with ON. (No ‘e’ at the end and it is a noun not a verb). For this to be correct, we need to use it with a verb such as put, place, establish, is etc.

  • I don’t understand why he is putting more emphasis on the one mistake she made than all the other things she did right that day.
  • Instead of listening to a person’s words, most people place emphasis on the appearance of the person.
  • The school has for a long time had its emphasis on sports.

We hope this lesson was useful. Our next lesson will be on request for. Thank you all for your feedback. Let us also know how these lessons are helping you improve your English and recommend it to a friend. Let’s keep sharing.

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Charis for Writing Lesson 58: COMPRISE/ COMPRISE OF

This lesson is dubbed Problem Preposition II because our last lesson ‘IMPACT or IMPACT ON’ is now considered as our first in the series of problem prepositions. Our next lesson shall be on EMPHASISE ON. You are warmly welcome.  We will also like to thank all our readers for the likes and the comments. We are much encouraged and honoured to be part of making your “English lives’ better!

Today, we are looking at the combination of the word ‘comprise’ with the preposition ‘of’ and why it could be highly problematic. As usual, let’s begin with a dictionary definition.

Comprise: to be made up of something, to include something or to make up or form.

The synonym is ‘consist of’. But unlike ‘consist’ which usually goes with ‘of’‘; comprise’ already has the preposition ‘of’ embedded in it and so does not need it to be repeated. So for example:

This test consists of reading, speaking and grammar exercises.   CORRECT 

This test comprises reading, speaking and grammar exercises.    CORRECT

This test comprises of reading, speaking and grammar exercises.    INCORRECT

If we were to add ‘of’ again to comprises, it would look like:

*This test consists of of reading, speaking and grammar exercises.*

Now you see how weird and incorrect that is. So, to say something comprises of something is incorrect. However, it may be correct to say something is comprised of something.

About 10% of Ghana’s Parliament is comprised of women.  (Women comprise about 10 percent)

But this of is only accepted in this structure: To be (is/am/were/was/will be) + comprised + of

Even this second form is not accepted by some who prefer synonyms like “composed of”. I believe this is the source of confusion with this verb. But from today, you are free from such errors.

We hope this lesson was useful. Catch us next week for another interesting lesson. Kindly contact us to do any proofreading or editorial work for you. If you have plans of publishing a book, we could help you out too. We also do designs and draft proposals and business plans. That’s us!!!

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Charis for Writing Lesson 57: Impact or Impact ON

IMPACT ON IMPACT

As editors, we read all kinds of sentences and our recent exposure to this word has triggered this lesson. It is not that people generally do not understand what the word means but it is the usage that is often wrong.

For example, it is common to see a sentence like:  The current economic situation has really impacted on the way Ghanaians spend money these days.

Did you find anything wrong with the sentence? If you didn’t, then this lesson is made just for you!

Let us begin with the meaning of the word. The word impact can be a noun (which means you can put an or the before it) or a verb (which means you can have impacted or will impact).

As a verb, to impact means to have a great effect or influence on something. In other words, when something has a great effect or influence on me, I say: It has impacted me.

For example:

  • The kind of company a person keeps will no doubt impact who he becomes in the future
  • It has been observed that exchange and interest rates impact bank profitability.
  • I was greatly impacted by the kind gesture of the young woman.

As a noun, it means a major influence or effect or even a physical hitting of another thing by something. So if something has a major effect on something, I say: the impact of ……….on……..

For example:

  • The impact of education on a person’s brain is enormous.
  • The marriage of one’s parents has an impact on the person’s own marriage.
  • His well-prepared and animated speech made no impact at all on the judges.

We can see, therefore, that impact as a verb does not take ON but impact as a noun takes ON in expressions such as make an impact on, and have an impact on.

This is the problem with the first sentence.  It uses impact as verb and then uses ON. What will be the correction of that sentence?

We hope this lesson was useful. Catch us next week for another interesting lesson. Kindly contact us to do any proofreading or editorial work for you. If you have plans of publishing a book, we could help you out too. We also design and draft proposals and business plans. That’s us!!!

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Lesson 56 Vocabulary Study : By heart

I wrote this lesson by heart!

Are you also someone who does things by heart? What does it even mean to do things by heart? Are you sure? A warm welcome to this week’s lesson. Let’s take a look at the correct meaning and usage of this expression.

That guy talks by heart.
This sentence (in Ghana) means he doesn’t think before talking and therefore what he says is not worth paying attention to.

Now to the dictionary.
By heart: from memory/ by rote. And by rote simply means to memorize something and later speak or act exactly what has been  memorized. It implies a mechanical activity and this is exactly what by heart means.

So,  better sentences would be:
I want to be able to sing this song by heart.

My pastor is a walking Bible: he can quote virtually the entire Bible by heart.

Our Literature professor insisted that we learn Shakespeare’s poem by heart.

 

From the examples, it is clear that the expression by heart deals with memory and not with a reckless behavior.

So how would you correct the first sentence: He talks by heart,  to reflect it’s intended meaning? We could use: thoughtlessly, carelessly or recklessly.

For example:
My friend talks recklessly.
Whenever she is angry, she tends to make thoughtless statements.
The painters did their work carelessly.

We hope this lesson was useful. Let’s is know how this has helped you and send us sentences with by heart and other expressions in this lesson.

Till we meet again, let’s spread the word and keep practicing!

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Lesson 55 Word Study: STAFF/ STAFFS

Is he a staff? Yes, the boss leans on him all the time!

This week, we will continue our lesson from last week. We would like to welcome you specially.

We established the last time that staff is a group noun used to refer to the group of employees in an organisation. It does not refer to an individual and therefore cannot have a plural with ‘s’ just because the people are many.

However, staff: the stick can have the plural as staffs or staves.

Well, today we would like to consider if the noun staff (as in employees)  takes a singular or plural verb when used in a sentence since it is considered as both in a sense. So, which is correct?

The entire staff was late to the meeting. OR
The entire staff were late to the meeting.

What do you think?  Traditional grammar says the first one is the correct one. ‘But the people are many’, I heard you say. That’s true BUT we consider it as a group; and group takes a singular verb. Sorry. 😊

However, if it is indeed true that staff can be staffs if the employees are from different companies, then we could have:

The staffs (of the different companies) were all late to the meeting.

(This is based on the logic of the similarity between staff and team though it doesn’t work very well in my ears).

That is all we have for you today. We hope you learnt something. If you did, send us the correction of the sentences below:

Are you also a staff of that company?

Yes, we have been staffs there for a very long time. Some of the privileges enjoyed by the staffs are bonuses and trips around the world.

Thank you for your time. Do send us your comments and questions. And don’t forget to like and share.  Catch you here next time for another interesting lesson.

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