BEFORE the debate on national food adequacy got hot, fear had been expressed that plastic rice from was about to be imported in the country.
To inform us on what was going on, the Good Citizen on Sunday (January 8) carried a front page article titled: “TFDA allays fears over ‘plastic rice’”.
TFDA stands for Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority. Part of the story reads as follows:
“It started last month when authorities in ‘the’ neighbouring country said they had impounded 100 bags of what was thought to be synthetic rice but tests showed that it was normal rice though it was contaminated and therefore unfit for human consumption”.
Please note from the above quotation that, since this neighbouring country has not been identified or referred to before, it should be described as “a neighbouring country” not as “the neighbouring country”.
Tanzania has many neighbouring countries:Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda Burundi, DRC, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique.
The TFDA Public Relations Officer assured the public that there was no plastic rice in the country. She is quoted as having said: “Before importation of any ‘foot stuff’ one has to apply for permits from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Fisheries Development”.
What did the writer mean by “foot stuff”? This could be new vocabulary to describe the kind of food that may fit to be plastic rice.
Otherwise, if the writer was referring to food in the sense of the business of producing and selling food, the correct spelling is “food stuff”.
The Public Relations Officer went on: “For one to get a permit, ‘he’ should submit a sample of the product ‘he’ wants to import and a permit is issued only after laboratory tests prove that the commodity is safe for human consumption”.
Is there anything wrong here? Yes.
You do not mix-up “one” and “he” or “she” as pronouns in the same sentence.
The sentence should read as follows: “For one to get a permit, ‘one’ should submit a sample of the product ‘one’ wants to import and a permit is issued only after laboratory tests prove that the commodity is safe for human consumption”.
The officer gave an example: “There are food supplements which have been rejected ‘in’ entry points because of safety and quality short comings”.
When you get to a border post of a country and want to get in you are “at” the entry point, not “in” the entry point.
Thus our Public relations officer should be reported as having said: “There are food supplements which have been rejected ‘at’ entry points because of safety and quality short comings”.
The first month of year 2017 is almost over but we can still join youngsters as they talk about the future, as documented in the Young Citizen Supplement of the Good Citizen on Sunday (8 January, p. 17).
Read on: “GM ‘is’ a Form Three student at Christ the King Secondary School, Dar es Salaam has set her sights towards better grades and she knows there is no way out apart from putting in more work”.
Was there any need to have the verb ‘is’ in this sentence? No, unless we add a pronoun to the sentence.
If we do away with the verb “is” we are safe and dry and the sentence would read as follows: “GM, a Form Three student at Christ the King Secondary School, Dar es Salaam, has set her sights towards better grades ……….”; or, “GM ‘who is’ a Form Three student at Christ the King Secondary School, Dar es Salaam has set her sights towards better grades ………..”.
One Pamela also has big dreams: “I want to be an Engineer one day and I think to reach that level I have to work ‘had’ right from the beginning”.
To work ‘had’? Not quite. More likely than not, the writer had “working hard” (and not “working had”) in mind.
That one letter ‘r’ is important to depict the true meaning of what young Pamela wanted to say: “I want to be an Engineer one day and I think to reach that level I have to work ‘hard’ right from the beginning”.
Hopefully, scarcity or not, importers of that plastic rice “foot stuff” will not set foot in Tanzania.