English is Nigeria’s official language, though there over 521 languages spoken in the country. Sometimes, Nigerians tend to abuse some words, overusing them in the wrong text. If you’re Nigerian, you would be familiar with these everyday words you hear in the office, classrooms, on the street and everywhere. Some words get so overused and with time, begin to differ from their common or intended use. Nigerians love to say what they say and they say it with all confidence, whether it’s wrong or right. Below you’ll find some of the most commonly overused and abused English words used by Nigerians.
1. As in: Nigerians love to say ‘as in’. It means for example or for instance. Sometimes, when Nigerians use it in a sentence, it has nothing to do with for example.
2. Like really: You’re talking with a friend and the next thing you hear is ‘like really’. It often comes in the form of a question, like do you really mean what you’re saying.
3. I was like: Someone is telling a story and the next thing you hear is ‘I was like’, which means, ‘I said’. Apparently, ‘I was like’ makes the discussion more exciting and enjoyable than just saying, ‘I said.’
4. Literally: One of the most abused word. Literally, which originally meant “in a literal or strict sense,” is so overused that it now has an informal second meaning, ‘figuratively’. Nigerians seem to use it in all their statements whether it fits or not, abusing it all the time.
5. Basically: Our everyday language has become littered with such terms. It’s like if you’ve not said this word in a sentence, you don’t know how to speak English. Sometimes, the use of the word is not even necessary but we use it anyway.
6. You know: Some people cannot talk for a minute without saying ‘you know’. You know, I just bought a car, you know this and that. They keep saying you know, even though you don’t know.
7. Actually: This is one of the words in English that is ‘actually’ the most overused. Some people ‘actually’ use ‘actually’ hundreds of times while telling a story or having a discussion. The word ‘actually’ means, “as the truth or facts of a situation” or “used to emphasize that something someone has said or done is surprising”, but it is used to start almost every statement in Nigeria, whether it fits or not.
8. Like seriously: When people want to feign surprise, they say ‘like seriously’, so it is widely understood as expressing surprise or incredulity at a statement.
9. Apparently: It means ‘as far as one knows or can see’, but people use it anyhow without even knowing the meaning.
10. As usual: This means something that usually happens. However, some Nigerians overuse this word, even in the wrong context. They use it even when they are talking about something that’s not usual.
11. Frankly speaking: This means honestly. Some people will say ‘frankly speaking’ even when they are not being honest with what they are saying. Trust Nigerians to want to use words they know nothing about.
12. Technically: This word means, ‘according to the facts or exact meaning of something, strictly’, but we just can’t stay away from it even if what we are saying is not the exact meaning.
13. In a nutshell: meaning ‘to cut a long story short, in summary,’ but we just love to use it, even when we know what we are about to say is not a summary, thereby abusing it.
The next time you want to use these words in a sentence, you should know the meaning and ask yourself if it fits.
How many of these words are you guilty of?