A Linguistic (Error) Analysis of Use of Modification in Selected Nigerian Mass Media


  • Joel Kehinde Babatope The Department of General Studies, The Federal Polytechnic Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria.
  • Wasiu Ademola Oyedotun-Alli The Deparment of English and Literary Studies, The Federal University of Technology Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria.




Lingusitic, Syntactico-semantic, Modification, Communication, Mass media


Language is any set or system of linguistics symbols as used in a more or less uniform fashion by several people who are thus enabled to communicate intelligibly with one another, Random Dictionary of the English Language (1996:806). Some of the most important questions regarding the role of the media are about communication. How are the meanings which make up a culture shared in a given society? Society relies heavily on the media for information, knowledge, and entertainment. However, much as we seek to be informed (and often act on such information) we realize that through the same medium-language- we receive wrong information, which is not inherent in the code itself, but in the manner in which it is coded. The use of modification is one aspect of language that preponderates every single statement in the media to describe, limit, intensify, colour, and, above all, achieve precision and conciseness in information dissemination. In this study, it is found that abuse of modifiers does much damage to information and consequently, the resultant action(s). This study, therefore, examines the use and abuse of modification in TELL and THE NEWS magazines to infer the possible effects such use (or abuse) has on communication. Drawn on examples from contemporary media, and using Quirk and Greenbaum’s (1973) Performance and Judgment Test, this paper posits that the media is a potent force in information dissemination and opinion moulding, the latter being a resultant effect of efficient deployment of language.


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