Nigerian English VS Correct English



I was at a training session organized by my firm today. Usually, we are taught (by experts from international organizations) various subject matter, ranging from Communication, business writing skills,howw to conduct interviews, etc. 

This time around, we were made to understand some words which we think we use correctly, are absolutely wrong. This is quite enlightening, as everyone in my session gave wrong meanings to the words. 

Gist: we all assume this word means a process of chit-chat. It means the core of a story; the main or essential part of a matter. Thus you say ‘here is the gist of the rape” or “I’ve got gist about the car race”. We are gisting is just so wrong!!!!

Dupe: a dupe is someone who is easily fooled. This really amazed me. It’s not a person who fooled or tricked you. Thus if I get scammed, I am a dupe. However, it’s correct to say I got duped, because you are a dupe.  

Bimonthly: this means either done twice a month or done once every 2 months. However, it’s advisable to indicate specifically which you are referring to. 

Biannual: unlike bimonthly, bi annual means twice a year. Biennial means every 2 years. Semi- annual means every 6 months in the year. Please, don’t ask me the basis, I’m not an Englishman. 

 Literary vs. literally: I’ll illustrate this with an example. If your kid brother is playing football beside your 2 weeks old BMW jeep, you shout “if you like, break my windscreen with your football, you big headed boy”. In a literary way, you are saying “I hope you are sensible enough to know that you must not damage my car”. You are implying or connoting. However, literally, you have told him go ahead and break d windscreen. Literally means saying it as it is, as you want or expect it. 

Buckle up: we mostly assume this means sit up or hurry up or work faster. Meanwhile it just means buckle up!!!! Buckle up your shoe or belt or saddle. The real word for what we have in mind is buckle down. English ehn….. 

Dabble: as opposed to thinking this word refers to getting involved in people’s matter or business, it actually means taking something lightly or playfully. If you are like me who watches football matches once a year, then it’s right to say I dabble into football games. The correct word for what we think is meddle. 

Pretty sure this was worth your while. Are there any words which you thought meant a particular thing, but means totally different? Please share in the comment section. 





9 thoughts on “Nigerian English VS Correct English

Add yours

  1. Yea…one I heard is it’s actually “you can’t have ur cake and eat it” not “you can’t eat ur cake n have it” we say


  2. The one phrase that Nigerians wrongly use is “put to bed”, and also saying “how far” as a form of greeting


  3. Oga Englishman, nice one shaa. But, e get one wen u no yarn. BMW Jeep. It’s actually BMW SUV. Jeep is a particular brand, that Nigerians have decided 2 start calling all Sports Utility Vehicles. Soo, buckle down and don’t meddle!!! Loool


    1. U got it half way.
      General purpose vehicle is the original word for SUV. so its a BMW General purpose vehicle.
      But that sounded too long, so it was shortened to General Purpose, and then to GP.
      GP still felt long, and the word ‘jeep” was formed.
      now you know better, Ade.


  4. “Bogus” this word means something fake or not genuine. We have repeatedly used this word to represent something “big” or massive in size esp when referring to bodily ornament e.g jewellery..


  5. English is a gudtin to learn maybe wen next u going to dat class beep me dear…… u just strighten ma head now hahah


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: