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Ink Eze: 10 Nigerian-English Sayings & Words that Irk Me!



Living and working in Nigeria can be soooo entertaining! The phrases and words we’ve coined are sometimes so far off from their real meaning.

It’s not our fault entirely, because some of the common mistakes come from translating English word-for-word from our local languages, and some others are errors people make around the world.

All in good fun, here’s my list of common Nigerian-English sayings and words – from rude to questionable.

Feel free to add yours in the comments!

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????1. “You’re next o!” Nigerian meaning = You’re in line to get married/have a baby etc.
Picture this. You’re at your brother’s wedding handing out souvenirs, curtseying or slightly bowing your head as culture demands. Next thing, a mama with her roughly tied gele and sweaty pits you can see through her sheer lace, awkwardly side hugs you as you’re struggling to balance the carton in your hand, “ahhhh, yah next oh! God go do your own soon”.

While it’s sweet that people are wishing for your marital blessings, a baby etc., it can also be depressing. What if you just broke up with your boyfriend? What if you’re trying to get pregnant and it’s causing tension in your marriage?

‘You’re next’ may be harmless to you but rude to someone else. A ‘congratulations’ would do, and if you really want them to be next, why not just silently pray for them?

2. “How was your night?” Nigerian meaning = Good morning.
*Screeeeech!* what? Although this is the equivalent of good morning to many, the literal meaning asks for too much information (TMI) o_O do you really want to know what someone did to their wife or husband the night before? Well, maybe you do? Na wa for you o!

3. “Have you added?” or “You’ve added oh!” Nigerian meaning = You’ve gained weight!
Nigerians are the ultimate ‘weight watchers’! You probably don’t need a scale because every 1kg below or above your usual weight is observed AND commented on. I think people are usually harsher on women in this regard.

One time my friend’s hairdresser called her sister after she just came back from schooling abroad, and told her, “ah, e be like say she don enjoy burger finish”. Wow!

4. Revert. Nigerian meaning = Respond or reply.
Revert means to return to a previous state. For example, if you have natural hair, your hair reverts to its curly state when wet.

But in Nigeria, revert means to act on someone’s request and reply. It just irritates me so much! I twitch a little when I hear revert used wrongly, I swear!

5. Put to bed. Nigerian meaning = give birth/have a baby.
Do you know this actually means, ‘to solve a problem’ or ‘to finish work on something and go to the next step’? e.g. “after we fought, he cooked for me so we put it to bed”, (please don’t let your mind roam far oh!)

Anna Ebiere Banner was asked by a “concerned” fan a few days ago who asked if she had “put to bed” and called her boyfriend Flavour some names. Tsk tsk!

Given the REAL definitions of the idiom, where exactly does having a baby fall into this? Is it because you do something on the bed (or somewhere close to a bed) that leads to the baby? Or you lay on a bed to give birth? Please help me understand.

6. Coming causing confusion! e.g. “Come and be going” and “I’m coming”. Nigerian meaning = “Go quickly” and “I’ll be back”
Why tell me you’re ‘coming’ when you’re heading out the door?

Why tell someone to ‘come’ and ‘be going’? Should they come or should they go?! Decide!

7. Beau. Nigerian meaning = boo/beautiful.
As we’re surrounded by Francophone countries and a lot of Nigerians study French, at least in secondary school and some even do it in WAEC, you’d think this wouldn’t be on the list.

Beau is a french word for a hot guy, and also means beautiful/handsome, but it’s only for men. Just like ‘belle’ is a beautiful woman or the word to call a beautiful woman. In Nigeria though, women are called ‘beau’. Err, no I’m not someone’s beau, and I’m not handsome thank you very much!

8. Mentor. Nigerian meaning = role model.
“OMG! I love your work so much! My mentor, ah ah, I hail oh!” With the immense talent coming from Nigerians in creative industries like makeup, music, photography and so on, it’s no surprise that people within and outside the country look up to us.

But mentor is more than a role model, it’s someone who guides a protege (you) through advice and connections. When someone has never met you or interacted with you, you shouldn’t ‘claim’ them as your mentor even when you want them to be. If you try hard enough, they just might be, but until that happens, they’re not your ‘mentor’!

9. Reverse back. Nigerian meaning = reverse.
Number 9 is dedicated to tautology. That’s when you say two words or a word and phrase that mean the same thing. e.g.

Instead of repeat – Repeat again. Repeat once more. Repeat twice.

Instead of return – Return back.

Instead of rise – Rise up.

… and on it goes.

Bonus: We also say a lot of things ‘in twos’ in Nigeria e.g. ‘do quick’ and ‘be fast’, ‘sit down‘ and ‘stand up

10. The runners-up!
There were soooo many words/phrases to choose from, which made it hard to compile this list. But here are some runner-ups worthy of a mention.

Would. Nigerian meaning = will. This isn’t exclusive to Nigerians oh, don’t get me wrong! e.g. “I would send it.” Would is supposed to be a conditional word, usually followed by an excuse, but not in Naij it’s used as ‘will’, which is definite.

High. Nigerian meaning = drunk. High refers to the effects of drug use, not alcohol.

Ping. Nigerian meaning = send someone a BBM message. PING!!! is not the same as sending someone a message.

As requested. Nigerian meaning = follow up.

We also overuse foreign slangs – e.g. ello bae! and fleek


Okay guys, that’s it for my personal list! Thanks to Feyi, Moremi, Oyinda & Jennifer for their contributions to this article.

What phrases and words do people around you say that get on your nerves or are just plain wrong?!

Photo Credit: Michaeljung |

Ink Eze is the Founder of, a platform for sharing African traditional styles. She Modern Culture and Media at the Ivy League Brown University. She honed her skills in advertising and digital media at one of America’s leading tech companies in marketing. She became BellaNaija Weddings editor in 2013, and Assistant Editor of BellaNaija, heading the lifestyle section - Style, Beauty and Living until January 2017. Under her leadership, BN Weddings gained international prominence and became Africa’s foremost wedding media brand with millions of followers across several platforms and coverage on BuzzFeed, BBC & more. #AsoEbiBella became’s top feature, with over 1.8 million followers on Instagram. She conceived of BBN Wonderland, Nigeria’s top bridal event since 2015 with Baileys Nigeria. Now she spends her time on AsoEbiBella, and has executed marketing campaigns with local and international brands including HP Nigeria, Orijin and Sunlight Detergent. and sharing her insights with the world. For more Ink, join her on @Ink.Eze | @AsoEbiBella


  1. yea

    April 16, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    how about just writing the plain old English language properly, e.g I’m and am are not same, their and there are different, thought and though do not mean the same. lose and loose have separate meanings. oh, my friend said during the election period, people were shouting “i have been accreditated” and he was like gbagaun! The verb derivative of accrediataion is accredit, not accreditate.

    the list is endless but i think Nigerians generally mistake two words that sound alike for each other and probably because we are a society that talk more than write. i also believe the social is responsible for terrible usage of words as well as pop culture.

    • Morolake

      April 16, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      hahahahahhahaaaha, too funny. Please do not blame them. Blame INEC. New words were just flying round for some people during the election period; e.g sacrosanct, non-partisan. A few people i know had the wrong spellings of both words on their bbm dp’s. (Btw, am i the only one who had to read my comment again to be sure their were no gbagauns…lol).

    • Olori Tari

      April 16, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      Yes, you read your comment again to avoid gbagaun (in your words). But read it again maybe? Because this your ‘their’ instead of there ‘get as e be o’!

    • FBI

      April 16, 2015 at 11:21 pm

      Please read it again as ‘there’ is gbagaun…

    • Morolake

      April 17, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      Chei see my life (in my very Nigerian English) Thank you jare Olori Tai and FBI for correcting me i knew someone would notice that gbagaun, missed it….hahahha. Bellanaijarians never miss anything.

    • Bex

      April 16, 2015 at 7:02 pm

      Great remarks, yea. Plain english language like you call it requires that we begin our sentences or a new paragraph with a capital letter…is it me? or should your “i” be “I”?

    • Onye

      April 16, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      Calm down. We all know you and the author of this article studied abroad. Abeg go back to were you came from and leave us Nigerians with our own personal language.

    • Yhello

      April 16, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      lol… yea. ‘Am’ instead of i’m is really hilariousssssssssssssssssssssssssssss. But madam ‘revert’ in emails is actually correct. (No. 4 ‘meaning to reply someone). So don’t cringe at that.

    • Jo!

      April 17, 2015 at 3:25 am

      I was going to write something smart, but after 140 comments? sure you guys have said it all

  2. le coco

    April 16, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    omg.. the one i hate is… “by God’s grace”.. dont get me rong oo.. acknowledging God is good.. bt in every sentence? really? for everyday activities? ohh and PERAVENTURE? please what the hell is it nd where does it stem from..
    one tht also bugs me is the word IRREGARDLESS.. i hvnt heard it amongst nigerians bt other africans seem to think its a word.. um.. no

    • ck

      April 16, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      How about Anna Ebiere’s “Don’t judge ”u are not God” so cliche

    • Kwinsli

      April 16, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      But it isn’t wrong.

    • Adwoa

      April 16, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      Both words are correct English words just that the spellings as written here are wrong. The correct words are PERADVENTURE and REGARDLESS. Peradventure is similar in meaning to PERHAPS, while REGARDLESS means Despite the circumstances.

    • Sal

      April 16, 2015 at 7:18 pm


      I have heard this said by educated Nigerians that have attended UK private schools (not born but bred here and say their name is Aid when it is Ade). When you “form too much” your bad grammar comes out sometimes.

      We learn everyday remember. Why ladies, aunties etc say “Am going to make my hair” is beyond me. Yes, am, not I am (that is another one). God alone made your hair but your dress or style it. Many well educated people with good jobs say this. The basics are lacking.

      They mean irrespective but somehow once a word becomes someone’s truth, it exists as far as they are concerned. It is best just to correct them in love.

      I am not sure if you are a Christian, but it is one thing to “blow grammar” or speak proper English (choose your poison) and it is another to speak prayerfully in faith. If you understand what it is be under God’s grace and not look at it in the way it has been made meaningless to some. It is not something that should irritate you. Rather pray that you can do all by His grace.


    • Blessmyheart

      April 16, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      Actually, I think using by God’s grace comes from James 4:14-15 though it’s supposed to be if the Lord will. I guess by God’s grace is easier to say.

    • Kay

      April 17, 2015 at 9:02 am

      People misused irregardless so much that it was recently added to the dictionary.
      The word a lot of people use wrongly is ‘severally’ check the meaning and it will shock you

    • garland orhue

      April 16, 2015 at 10:37 pm

      The English continues to add words that are foreign yet generally accepted as English to their dictionary once in a while. The most important thing is understanding each other when we communicate, that is the basic objective of any language. IRREGARDLESS ( regardless; a combination of irrespective and regardless sometimes used humorously) of a brother to use a “mentor” literally in place of a “role model” ? When we repeat word that are of the same meaning or different words yet of the same meaning close to each other, it is not always out of ignorance rather a way of emphasis some times exaggerative. we do the same in our local dialects.
      plus….. did you see the list of most religious countries… Nigeria is on the top rankings . you be damn i say “by God’s grace” frequently.

  3. Moby

    April 16, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Ello bae! Well done. However, i disagree with your evaluation of the word Beau. Here’s the thing, yes, that word has a french origin but in Nigeria and many parts of the world it is used as a slang and is spelt as boo meaning a male OR FEMALE love interest. Languages and words evolve and this word has.

  4. Queen of Everything

    April 16, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    “Would” I find very grating,
    “Revert” is not problematic, I work for a multinational bank and this is used quite frequently in correspondence.
    Ping is the single most annoying “thing” ever – thing as a word and as an action, just no!
    Another one not on the list is the misplacement and misuse of “this” and “these”
    I have a friend, who is a lawyer who refuses to acknowledge the existence of “this”
    I’m just in shock, I haven’t found the courage to correct her and I worry I’ll snap at her one day… 🙁

    • Tosin "Magz" Akingboye

      April 16, 2015 at 3:56 pm


      Revert can also mean “to take up again or come back to a former topic”

    • Tobi

      April 16, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      Please don’t snap. Haha

    • "Junior" and "Senior" brother or sister

      April 16, 2015 at 11:02 pm

      Nigerians like to say “Junior” or “Senior” brother/sister! HAAAA, this irks me to no end! What they meant to say is “Younger” or “Older” brother/sister. Hey Nigerian people, order of birth is NOT a ranking system, so please quit saying junior and senior in relation to birth order! Another one is the word “my RELATION”, what they meant to say is “my RELATIVE”.

  5. Scared Homosapien

    April 16, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    I totally dislike when someone asks me ‘how was your night’. Am i a night watch man or do i stay awake all through the night to know how it went? Ask me ‘how are you’ or ‘did you sleep well’, then i can answer you.

    • Tru

      April 16, 2015 at 6:37 pm

      I swear, I thought it was just me! I hate that question with a passion. Imagine my own horror when I found myself asking a colleague exactly that!

    • misslolly

      April 17, 2015 at 7:19 am

      But I’m getting tired of Nigerians taking things too seriously. “How was your night? ” is basically the same question as “Did you sleep well? “. If I wanted to know WHAT you did with your husband /wife at night, I would ask “what did you do last night? “. A “How” question asks the quality of its subject not the description. The expected and reasonable generic answer to that question is “fine thanks”.

    • Alero

      April 17, 2015 at 10:43 am

      The reply to :” how was your night?” is :” I slept well,restful or great! You may also say:” Oh! Robbers were in the neighbourhood, it was horrifying!” So what’s this fuss about getting angry over the question???

      How was your day y’all? 😀

  6. Bukola

    April 16, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    I just learnt something new o. ‘Revert and Put to bed” especially

  7. Shopperoflife

    April 16, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    @Nkechi Eze……you don’t do it in WAEC! WAEC is the body that conducts the examination. It should be …..WASCE. WAEC = West African Examination Council. While, WASCE= West African School Certificate Examination. There is a difference and a lot of people mix this up.

    • Nkechi Eze

      April 16, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      It was intentional 🙂

      We also call the UTME exams, ‘JAMB’ by the name of the board – Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board.

      Everyone is guilty of Nigerian-isms. Even me :p

  8. Ibinabo

    April 16, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    My dear, that’s part of our identity, it completes the “Nigerian package”.

    • na so!

      April 16, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      “Nigerian package”? O di egwu! Where do they give the “package”?? At the airport abi Seme border?

  9. ola

    April 16, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Beau is a french word for a fine guy ke? i beg no confuse people oooooooo……………. beau is just associated with masculinity,but not only for men…….you can say…Un beau gateau….which means a beautiful cake

    • Toye

      April 16, 2015 at 5:27 pm

      Yes…a handsome cake indeed

    • ola

      April 16, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      Yes in french masculine or feminine is not only about man or woman,in french a non living thing can be masculine or feminine

    • kmer sista

      April 16, 2015 at 8:34 pm

      As a native french speaker from cameroon,currently living in France, I approve this message from Ola.
      In french, we associate “beau” (masculine) and belle (feminine) to both people and object…Une belle chaise (a beautiful chair) , un beau chapeau (a beautiful hat), une belle histoire (a beautiful story)…BUT when the next word is masculine starting with a vowel, we’ll use “BEL” instead of “Beau”: un BEL homme (a handsome man)…Saying “un beau homme” is incorrect ;=)

  10. Mimi

    April 16, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    12 noon- it’s either 12pm or noon.
    Reason why- it’s either reason or why.
    How was your night- is by far one of the most irritating sentences followed by ” I “do” see him”. What is the “do” doing there? I see him is I see him. I do go for lunch in Mama Cass. I do use Etisalat, I do travel to Calabar. What has the word “do” done to us?

    • Ms_dee

      April 16, 2015 at 4:53 pm

      Hahaha, I’m guilty of saying ‘do’ a lot. I ‘do’ say it a lot, haha 🙂

    • Ada

      April 16, 2015 at 4:56 pm

      Hahahhaha @ “do” Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!!!!!! Arrrrrrr!

    • Mlle

      April 16, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      The use of the ‘do’ in every sentence is so annoying.
      I have heard someone say “I do do it”

    • Ms Geeky 30

      April 16, 2015 at 8:07 pm

      Strictly speaking, using do before another verb is not wrong. It becomes an auxiliary verb and can be used to give emphasis to another verb such as in your highlighted examples.
      It is actually a very ‘UK’ way of speaking.

    • M4

      April 16, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      Laughing hard right now

    • matilda

      April 16, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      hahahahahahahahahahahah i’m literally crying!!! my dear, that ‘do’ thing irks me!! really, what has it done to people that they misuse it like that

    • obitalk

      April 17, 2015 at 12:06 am

      I do is quite formal. I have heard no Nigerians use ‘do’ when they want to emphasis, so its not too bad. only when it is over-done.
      Back to stating our experiences ‘flashing’ and ‘missed call’ was one that got me in trouble overseas, and most times laughed at by my close friends, something about flashing when an individual quickly exposes their nakedness, I am used to saying missed call now but I still use flashing depending on whom I’m relating too. Something else I noticed is I actually no most of the right things but I find that depending on my setting or whom I’m communicating with, I stick to the naija norm.

    • obitalk

      April 17, 2015 at 12:07 am


    • amaa

      April 17, 2015 at 9:56 am

      It’s origin is from rap music and the African Americans. “If I do say so my sElf” Jay z. It marvels me how we feel comfortable speaking like rappers and musician in the USA. Most of them do not have a high school diploma and yet their fowl incorrect English is making its way into our daily grind (pun intended) Anyi kwa!!!!! with Msc,Phd

  11. Sky Blue

    April 16, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    “On seat” grinds my gears to no end. Whatever happened to just saying “he/she is not around”?! Ugh.

    • Tru

      April 16, 2015 at 6:39 pm

      I. HATE. “They are not on seat.”. Wharrahell!!!

  12. cinderella

    April 16, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    For me it’s ‘slay’ even when the person is not so well dressed and then ‘thurnt’ like seriously I get really irked.

  13. Sabifok

    April 16, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Oh, they are many. Here are a few of mine:

    1. “I am a working class” – Apparently this means that the person has a professional job. The working classes traditionally were the classes outside the landed gentry. Wrong use.

    2. “Stuffs” – The plural of stuff is stuff.

    3. I know this is an article dedicated to a different subject matter, but people that say “Happi Buffdai” really piss me off. There is nothing cute about it, especially from grown men.

    4. “Enjoyment Officer”

    • Jane Public

      April 16, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      Yeah, working class makes me cringe. Many of them who use that term don’t understand how derogatory it is. Middle class, is a better alternative, even at that, are we in England, where class permeates every discussion. You have work full time, or something. Anything is better than calling yourself working class

    • [email protected]

      April 16, 2015 at 5:00 pm

      Sowee, HBD, HML, HNM trying to shorten the whole english language. I mean technology has made birthday wishes easy for everyone. You don’t need to buy a card or birthday gift so at least you should be able to type the words completely.
      Some people use it to hide the fact that they can’t spell correctly.

    • tai

      April 18, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      may i add ggmub? arrrrggghhhhhh gets on my last nerves..awon conk naija bb users are hella guilty of this

    • Thatgidigirl

      April 16, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      I love u for this Sabifok especially stuffs.By the way, can you pls pronounce your name? Hehehe

    • Sabifok

      April 16, 2015 at 10:53 pm

      “Sabifok” is pronounced as it is spelt and has 2 syllables “Sabif” and “ok” (pronounced like ork”)

      I forgot to add, some other ones I cant stand:

      1. “Do the needful”

      2. Yes of course.

      3. She is a half-caste (when referring to someone who is mixed race). Thunder go fire your papa pikin. Who are you calling a half-caste. That is derogatory na. Full caste like you.

      4. The illicit or careless use of the word “luxury” to denote as classy anything which is expensive, even if it is tacky or not of very good quality

      5. The use of the word “Tribe” when referring to Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba. Please I do not know about yours, but Igbo are not a tribe. We are a nation or an ethnic group

      6. Did you travel by “flight”.

      7. This is not technically wrong, but please if you are not French, do not pronounce Paris as “Paree”

    • Mummy And Daddy!

      April 16, 2015 at 9:14 pm

      A grown up Nigerian still calls their parents “Mummy” or “Daddy”. That pisses the sh*t out of me!
      Whatever happened to saying “mum” or “dad?”

    • Blah blah

      April 16, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Really?! You are going to tell people what to call their parents? I’m only curious. How is what people call their parents your business?

    • S!

      April 16, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      So please at what age are we supposed to drop the ‘my’ & ‘dy’ from the names?
      See the very irrelevant thing that pisses you off. You need to set your priorities straight. If my dad lives till when I’m 50 “By God’s grace” I’ll still refer to him as daddy. I don’t see why I should change what I call my dad because I’m older.

    • Ebony

      May 14, 2015 at 10:27 am

      Mummmmyyyy, dadddy is shaking :p.
      I love my mummy and my daddy! 😛

    • CEO

      April 16, 2015 at 11:27 pm

      That “stuffs” is just not cool. People will be saying “I do stuffs”. “Jewelries” too…. Like really? Jewelries?

    • D

      April 17, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      or shrimps….really shrimps??? shrimp is shrimp

    • Alero

      April 17, 2015 at 10:59 am

      Kindly type “working class” in a google search, then come back to comment.

      It really isn’t what you guys think, it pretty much cuts across a lot of definitions 😀

  14. emeraldish

    April 16, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    how was your night is the worst ? i mean what kind of question is that? what do u want to know about my night ? if i peed in the middle of the night? or if i masturbated three times ? i never answer that question tho, i find it ridiculous. nigerians are truly the weight watchers , minding peoples business and not theirs, you lose weight, they notify u, u gain 1kg , they notify u. tufia!

  15. Lin

    April 16, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    This article was unnecessary abeg! People will damn right say what they want, You didn’t say anything new.

    • na so!

      April 16, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      You did not have to read it na, or comment even. But shaa ñõ vess

  16. niyoola

    April 16, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    The worst has to be TRAFFICATE/TRAFFICATOR.
    Argh! Why o why do we say this. Even driving instructors in Naija say Trafficate 🙁 🙁

    Hazard is also called Double Trafficator. Why 🙁

    • Meah

      April 16, 2015 at 5:31 pm

      Actually, there is an English word called trafficator. It is listed in the online dictionary as a British word which means a directional signal on a vehicle for indicating which way it is going to turn. Dont burst a vein for nothing….

    • Dee

      April 16, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      Yes it’s in the dictionary, but as a noun but Nigerians use it as a verb and say ‘trafficating” or “trafficate” and those words don’t exist. Really, people can say whatever they want, but if you’re educated you should at least know at the back of your mind that it’s grammatically incorrect but you’re just using to say it because you like how it sounds or whatever

  17. nnenna

    April 16, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    As a lekpa girl, the worst is “have u added?” “You’ve added oh”.. Like what is your business with my weight kwanu? Hian! Putting undue pressure on a sister to look more “set”.
    Then when people just refuse to spell correctly “am fine” will “I’m” kill you? Or “hapi buffdei” kai!
    Eh hee! “Informations” does information have plural or “take people’s advices” “I love the furnitures” grammar!

  18. Anonymous

    April 16, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    D worst of all is “trafficate”. Dear people! It is either indicate or signal.

    Most also can’t distinguish between its/it’s; am/I’m; girl’s / girls’ etc. The list is endless

    Some have insisted on adding “s” to words like staff & luggage to indicate plural

  19. Anonymous

    April 16, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    The biggest Nigerian blunder of all time is “trafficate”! #cantdeal

  20. TA

    April 16, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    ‘It is well’ did not make the list?! Lol! Nigerians and their everlasting optimism.. 🙂

    • Bobosteke & Lara Bian

      April 17, 2015 at 10:33 am

      Nne, I was just about to add that to the list when I saw your comment.

  21. mee

    April 16, 2015 at 4:51 pm


  22. Ada

    April 16, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Oh heavens…the worst yet? wait for it… “matured!” “I love how his response was matured”… “She’s a matured person” Arrrrrr!!! When is it over??????

  23. mee

    April 16, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    plzzz this is nigeria english is not my first language so there is all possibility that my first language will definately hinder the smooth process of english speaking. L

    • Tru

      April 16, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      This right here. The most popular excuse for not bothering to learn/improve on grammar.

    • S!

      April 16, 2015 at 10:11 pm

      But it’s the national language of Nigeria and as a citizen you are to learn it & learn it well

  24. Vee

    April 16, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Worst on my list is: it does worth it. Everytime I hear that I cringe.
    Also, ……. of life. eg babe of life or friend of life What does that even mean?
    Finally, tinz eg birthday tinz or enjoyment tinz

    • Mrs_ID

      April 16, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      I hate that with passion, bdays tinz…..lmao

    • Alem

      April 17, 2015 at 9:23 am

      I loved your comment like a 100 times. That ‘….of life’ has got to be the worst statement second to ‘…tinz’ of course. I mean seriously what the heck does it mean??? People be copying and pasting what they do not understand.

    • tai

      April 18, 2015 at 12:56 pm

      ok vee,i totally concur with the ‘tinz’…arrghhh but the latest one that is bugging me at the moment is ‘kikikiklki’ and kwaaaa …like what on earth is that dumb word? i’m sure it originated from an east african country but the way our nigerian girls have bastardised it makes me wanna throw daggers and shove a deer’s antlers down their throats like please, just shut the hell up

  25. Reverse

    April 16, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Madam Nkechi, ‘revert’ in official correspondence is correct. It simply means I’d come back to you on the subject. I love Nigerian english… nothing wrong with putting our own stamp on the language.

  26. Calabar Gal

    April 16, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    I’ve got some irks as well:

    1. “Go to come” – never ceases to amaze me.
    2. Another one is “Say me hi to him/her” Really? Say mi hi to her? Do your words make sense?
    3. Oh and ‘trafficate’ my driving instructor has a good laugh when I said ‘trafficate’. He was like ‘trafficate’? (with a puzzled look on his face. Oh, you mean ‘signal’? and burst out laughing….. “Is that what you people say in your country? ‘Trafficate’ Buahahahahaha!! I have never said ‘trafficate’ since that day. Now my lingua franca rolls with ‘signal’……… LOL!!

  27. helen

    April 16, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    When you say “thank you” after receiving an act of kindness or a good gesture, it is correct to say “you are welcome” I hear this alot and I see it on social media too. Is this right? If not, what is the correct expression?

  28. mrs chidukane

    April 16, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    The ones I hate are “Wawu” for wow. “Thumps up” for thumbs up. “Be upstanding ” for stand up. The thing is this, the more you hang around Nigerians, the worse your spoken English gets. Come and be going kills me everytime. 🙂

    • Femfem

      April 16, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      I know right my English has really deteriorated cos you have to blend in.

      Re come and be going I think it’s a direct translation from Yoruba, oya wa ma Lo. Just like I cannot come and kill my self(which I say a lot!). Emi o wa le wa pa ara mi

    • S!

      April 16, 2015 at 10:13 pm

      So wawu means wow? Always thought it was a Hausa word.

  29. Leobytata

    April 16, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    I actually have a close relative that named her child “it i well”

  30. Meh86

    April 16, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Apparently, I upset so many people when I first joined my office and never responded to ‘how was ya night’ with nothing but a smile. Seeing as I am a woman of peace at the next office meeting I brought it up oh! I proclaimed that I greet every single person with a chirpy ‘good morning!!!!!’ And surely that was all that is appropriate. I will continue smiling in response to ‘how was ya night’ . I was not raised to be rude to my elders lol.

  31. Oma

    April 16, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Can someone please tell me the origin/meaning of “It doesn’t make”??? I can’t even.

  32. SIA

    April 16, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    The two that irk me to my core every time I hear them is “severally” and “yesternight.”
    1. Severally doesn’t actually mean “several times,” it means “one at a time.” The vast misuse of this word drives me nuts!
    2. “Yesternight” ke?! So “last night” is not good enough anymore??

    • Blessmyheart

      April 16, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      Oh thank you! Practically everyone says severally when they mean several times. I’ve stopped trying to correct that.

  33. ogeAdiro

    April 16, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    “Come and be going” is syntactically correct in the Igbo language. I think.

  34. Irkypukky

    April 16, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Una well done o.I think these are what make Nigerians different.English is not a first language for us so some mistakes can be overlooked.Meanwhile having lived in the US and Uk,I have learnt that each country has its own way of saying things and also do have their slangs.So people should stop ‘irking’ and puking on some words.The fact is that you only find things other people say to be incorrect cos you know the right way to say them,what about the ones you say wrongly and ‘irks’ other people out.

  35. lizi

    April 16, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Lik seriously,u right m doin my project on diz.

  36. Prec

    April 16, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    You might have been a little picky, but overall ok… I do like the use of this kind of words to be honest, in an informal setting of course. I think it contributes to our identity. For example, outside the country when I hear people use those kind of sentences or word, it gives me a real warm feeling inside lol.
    But while we are on it, when did we start calling Naija, “Naij” now that made me cringe. It’s really annoying to me, really, really, really annoying. NAIJAAAAA, NOT NAIJ!!!! Urgh. Lol ok bye.

    • Ello bae Awayu

      April 16, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      Seriously! I love it too.

  37. Dee

    April 16, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    It really gets to me when people say “he’s on suit” or “he’s on jeans”…..literally grates on my ears!!

    • matilda

      April 16, 2015 at 9:19 pm

      that’s better than ‘he’s on jean’….. jean??? really??? jean??????? hahahahaha

  38. Fufu

    April 16, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    I dislike how Nigerians call every SUV / 4 wheeled vehicle a “JEEP”. I’ve even see BN contributors make that error. A JEEP is a brand name.

    • BlueEyed

      April 17, 2015 at 6:53 am

      Now this one I’ve had to consciously tell many of my Nigerian friends (even abroad).
      Another one that’s quite funny to me is “My names are……” When all the names listed would still be referring to one human being, one singular entity.

    • Nana

      April 18, 2015 at 10:51 am

      The correct Nigerian pronunciation is “JIMP”
      Get it right *wink*

  39. Naomi

    April 16, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    “I sight you”……”your dp loves you”….. “I heart u”

  40. Babym

    April 16, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Buhahaha this is hilarious i love Nigerians mehnn. Me sha i can never stop saying “abeg come and go”

    The one that fascinates me is why we like to repeat words. Examples sharp sharp,borrow borrow. Sleepy sleepy, looku looku, copy copy , follow follow, waka waka, fear fear, begi begi. Lmaoo the list is endless

    • Tosin

      April 19, 2015 at 8:52 am

      it is so cute though. quick quick. well well. hehe.

  41. bruno

    April 16, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    its better ooooooh and better life. I die a little inside when people say these words.

    also “at long last”. nigerian women love to use this one very well.

    penarity instead of penalty. football fans you know ur selves.

    • FBI

      April 16, 2015 at 11:39 pm

      @ bruno,You know the game called Square?We call it ‘suewe’, Jangolover, the list is endless..The day I heard the real pronunciation,can’t describe my mood that day as I kept telling myself, Choiii nah wah oh,Thank God say I no go show myself outside.

  42. le coco

    April 16, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    @prec.. the one that irks me to my soul is when foreigners ( ppl not nigerian) refer to naija as niger,… i get tired of explaining to them that niger is a whole different country, also a river, and a state.. loool.. but they jst seem to nt get it ryt

    • Kili

      April 16, 2015 at 10:48 pm

      Oya replace irk with hate or dislike…. It aff do.

      Not every time ‘irk’ ‘irk’ ‘irk’. I think we can add that to the list too.

    • Kili

      April 16, 2015 at 10:56 pm

      Or annoy or irritate… In whatever context. I’ve seen that word like 500 times today.

      I’m guilty of “how was your night”. Lol …..I promise to drop it henceforth.

      Errr…. Come and be going is the literal translation of “oya wa ma lo” which I say intentionally. That is not going anytime soon. No way.

  43. awwal h

    April 16, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    The statement I hate the most is “you look takeaway” like what does it even mean?

    • Erinma

      April 16, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      It means you look good, hot, pretty. Good enough to eat, but yeah very funny.

    • M4

      April 16, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      That’s just a naija’s slang for gorgeous.

  44. poison ivy

    April 16, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Yes oooo……..i testify, I am guilty of all blunder stated. Am a Nigerian, conversation with my “babe of life” will not be complete without words like “flexing tinz , all the way!! ,go park well, who send am.
    Life is not that serious, I would rather use these blunders than blow big grammar like that Nigerian politican (what’s his name)……..
    I will stop using trafficcate tho Lol. I actually can’t wait to correct someone.

  45. Kay

    April 16, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    “Check you up” and “check up on you” 🙁

  46. bisqo

    April 16, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    What about folks who say, first of all, second of all and third of all? What does that mean? Why can’t they just say firstly, secondly and thirdly??? Charles Barkley, take note o! LOL!

    • bisqo

      April 16, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      I just remembered another… “I want to toilet”…. how can you want to toilet abeg? Anyway, like I always say “idea is need” …
      We Naijas understand one another! One more day then it’s Friday… have fun guys!

  47. Kwinsli

    April 16, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Relax y’all. Not everyone is as opportune as some of us.
    Some of us were lucky enuf to go to ‘dem ‘big schools with dem big ‘Englishs’ .some were so lucky to be born or school-Ed abroad(English countries) .some have/had these aforementioned opportunists around them to teach and correct them. Not everyone has that luck. Nd moreover,no b me nd u introduce d language,neither are we perfect. Don’t spite,correct. It’s laughable though.peace!!!.

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      April 16, 2015 at 10:51 pm

      I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “Some of us were lucky enuf to go to ‘dem ‘big schools with dem big ‘Englishs’ .some were so lucky to be born or school-Ed abroad(English countries)”.

      I was born in Nigeria and attended a State run primary school as well as the local Federal Govt college in the city where I grew up. Then I moved on to the State run University and ended up in the Nigerian Law School. There is only one certificate of learning that I possess which wasn’t issued by a Nigerian institution. Many western indigenes that I’ve met (and in fact, Nkechi, next time we need to address this other issue which irks my very soul on a regular basis) that have the boldness to query my grasp of the language will first ask if I went to school in the UK and then follow up with the statement of surprise that beats me every damn time – “But your English is so good!”. I always feel like responding, “Why thanks! And so is yours!”.

      English is the officially spoken, national language of Nigerians and whilst many foreigners might be ignorant of that fact, you and I can’t make the same claim. So, we can either choose to use the “local” opportunities to get better at it (Brighter Grammar et al) or we can choose to relax and take the path of less resistance by claiming that other people were just “lucky” in learning it. Just like anything else in life that you want to get better at, the choice of how much effort you put in remains a personal one to make all by yourself but please stop using the above statement as any kind of excuse.

  48. Kechi

    April 16, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Good job girl. Guess all that will work if you live in Nigeria. If you actually work outside the country, you have got to be careful with your words or else you may spend your precious time trying to explain what you meant. In extreme cases, you could get sued. In the US, please don’t use the word drugs, instead use medication. Also don’t say anyone has added I am pleading with you. Keep that to the Nigerian sisters who haven’t been in the system too long. The issue of weight is sensitive and has been responsible for a breakdown in some marriages. Please keep your observation to yourself or expect charges for psychological damages in your mail box. I know we care about one another but we could come across as being too nosey if we are not careful.
    ‘I would send it’ made me laugh.

  49. Ello bae Awayu

    April 16, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    This article is funny. I would like to hand out cold zobos to all of you “vexing” because of our VERNACULAR! It is really not that serious. Absolutely not! How about you write something about how intrusive and semi aggressive Nigerians are? Personally I like it when I hear Nigerians use their vernacular . It’s heart warming to say the least. Abeg lemme come and be going before you people finish your zobo. Next thing now, they would say pidgin is uncouth and archaic. Kukuma just revert your tongue. It is well!
    Ps: Hope you saw what I did there.

    • Ayor

      April 18, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      Kukuma…..lollllll. I love you

    • british

      June 9, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      God bless you jare. I really dont see the problem if they are used informally among your fellow Nigerians. it just recognizes our identity and where we belong

  50. anonymousssss

    April 16, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Next tomorrow!! That’s the height…lol

  51. ms.b

    April 16, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    English is not my language. U sure understand when they speak, so that’s enough. My Asian classmates had rusty english, and doing well with good jobs now. Some things truly don’t matter.

    • S!

      April 16, 2015 at 10:18 pm

      English is your language.

  52. Ella

    April 16, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    How about “disvirgin”? The right word is deflower.

  53. daydayg

    April 16, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    The one I like most is “BUY YOUR KEROSENE HERE’. How come we are asked to buy what is ours.

    • hello

      April 17, 2015 at 12:37 am


  54. Ifee

    April 16, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I don’t even like “schooled abroad”. That’s Nigerian English in my opinion and the writer said that somewhere in her write up. Hypocrisy! This was funny nonetheless

  55. nonye

    April 16, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    I so dislike “How was your night? “.A colleague keeps asking this question every morning & I bluntly ignore him every time. It’s funny he hasn’t gotten it #sodumb

  56. ashabios

    April 16, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Why do people write “kkkkk’ when they just want to say ‘ok’ while chatting it so annoying!
    I also don’t know why kids call their class teacher ‘my aunty or uncle’
    To be honest I go with the naija flow sometimes but some words can be so annoying! Great article and contributions!

  57. letmetellyousomething

    April 16, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    the two word that irk my soul..

    1) BOX- Why do nigerians call a suitcase , a box? it is a suitcase

    2)DRUGS instead of pills/ medicine. “I’m just about to take my drugs for the night. I have a headache.” -________- really ? really though? you sound like a crack head!

    • CEO

      April 16, 2015 at 11:43 pm

      This one makes me laugh so much. “I’m on drugs” really? Which one, heroin?

    • CEO

      April 16, 2015 at 11:44 pm

      Another one that’s funny “go for shopping”. I thought it was just go shopping

    • misslolly

      April 17, 2015 at 7:39 am

      Please check the meaning of the word drug. It’s perfectly acceptable to say you’re using drugs. People can get addicted to most kinds of drugs. Sleeping pills, pain medication and recreational pills amongst others. But please note, ibuprofen is a drug, paracetamol is a drug, tetracycline is a drug.

    • Mlle

      April 17, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      I’m guilty of calling suitcases boxes. I didn’t realise till someone brought it to my attention, now I make a conscious effort to avoid doing it 🙂

    • me

      April 17, 2015 at 11:50 pm

      Honey you’re the one with a narrow definition of the word ‘drugs’ so stop ranting abeg!

  58. valerie

    April 16, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    Interesting article. There are so many examples from unnecessary abbreviations to wrong spellings to wrong use of words to words that crept into existence but ‘how was your night?’ is unforgivable

  59. AsMyself

    April 16, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    “I’m still ON bed”, and they will argue that “IN bed is wrong.
    “I’m UNDER the sun”…apparently “IN the sun” just doesn’t cut it.
    My all time most irksome: “You cannot eat your cake and (still) have it. They go on to rationalise that once you eat your cake, it’s gone. Therefore “you cannot have your cake and eat it” is unacceptable. Google, people!
    Ah…”what is good for the goose is good for the gander”. “What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander” is not sweet in the mouth. At all at all!
    “Fleektitude”? I don’t mind that…the year is almost over and “on fleek” won’t be on fleek any more. 8 months to go. hahaha!
    “When are you calling us to eat rice na?”

    Naija I hail oh! Mk I cum dey go b4 dem curse dia mama. Hahahahaha

  60. quietconfidence

    April 16, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Every country has its own slang that is unique to its inhabitants and Nigeria is no exception. I enjoy speaking and hearing some of our “Naija slang” especially outside Nigerian shores It gives a sense of identification and camaradiere. However, I remember to “revert” to proper English when speaking in a professional setting or with “non-Naija” folks.

  61. Anu

    April 16, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    ‘It is well’

  62. Cambridge

    April 16, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Is this writer serious? I love the Nigerian English. Thats why it is Nigerian. I am tired of all them blogs celebrating mediocracy. Gosh.. Bye Felicia.. Let me guess that does not irk you?

  63. unknown

    April 16, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    How about, “i’m going to barb my hair” and “he is a gay”, like how does that sound normal?

  64. rayofhope

    April 16, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    I love Naija slangs. However, when it comes to written English or formal setting, we should try n put in some efforts. The most annoying one for me is when people have refused to differentiate between “being and “been” For example you see well read people write” I have being there ” and ” you are been funny” . But any way, I love Naija die!

    • Ebony

      May 14, 2015 at 11:30 am

      Effort is effort though. No efforts

  65. duze

    April 16, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    I don’t believe ‘I appreciate’ hasn’t made an appearance!!! Haba!! When someone decides to equate his/herself to a valuable asset and simply ‘appreciate’ just like that? As for ”how was your night?’, after years of rebuking, rejecting and ignoring morning salutations of that nature I eventually cracked. Yes, now I just sigh deeply and say ‘Fine’. It is hell.

  66. Demi

    April 16, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    Folks, you can’t go see a doctor in clinic and tell her ‘I’m feeling STRONG’ cos doc be like wtf are you wasting my time!! Just admit that you are ill.
    Ever seen the petroleum tanker trucks with the bold sign saying ‘HIGHLY INFLAMMABLE’ – really, is it truly fire resistant? Or are we being warned that it CAN go up in flames??
    ‘AS IN…’ need I say more?
    I’m having waist pain = low back pain oO

    • Southern

      April 18, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      Perhaps you should look up the meaning of “inflammable”.

  67. Kili

    April 16, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    For me,it’s the way NIGERIA is pronounced these days?
    Pls help me out, is it NIG-ee-RIA or NIG-ay-RIA ????

    Thought it’s the former???

  68. Sal

    April 16, 2015 at 11:33 pm


    I was not speaking of where by God’s grace came from. Not sure why that was brought up. I spoke about grace as a whole, hence why I said what I said.

    Another example is saying “we thank God”.

    What you are discussing is different. God bless you anyway.


    • Blessmyheart

      April 17, 2015 at 8:33 am

      Hi Sal. God bless you too. I was only trying to explain why people seem to use by God’s grace a lot. You know Nigerians are very religious. I think there’s something about the if God wills in Islam too. Even Yorubas allude to God’s will when making plans.

  69. Blessed Beauty

    April 16, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    The ‘DRUGS’ one got me. I remember telling a white colleague that I took drugs for headache. She looked at me in a weird way…like this lady must be high 😀 I had to quickly correct myself and say medication…lol

    • mon

      April 17, 2015 at 11:41 pm

      lol my dear drugs is correct, because someone is white does not mean that their mastery of English is sound. She looked at your weirdly because drugs is usually associated with illegal substances.

    • me

      April 17, 2015 at 11:51 pm


  70. ATL's finest

    April 16, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    Lol # 3 got me rolling. I swear folks need to lay off been a Weight watcher and commenting on it. Zumba instructor is next to their name..smh

  71. Lagos looker

    April 16, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    Can we just leave Nigerians and their peculiar way of speaking? Almost every language has issues like this. Yeah, we all have incorrect/improper words/phrases/pronunciations but please let us breathe.
    the writer sounds pretentious. So do most of the comments.
    Stopped being funny at some point.

    • misslolly

      April 17, 2015 at 7:44 am

      Gbam!!! My thoughts exactly. Everyone with their pretentions. A bit annoying really.

    • tonette

      April 17, 2015 at 10:47 am

      Nigerians and their ignorance. No 1 is saying speaking it is a problem but we see it in wassce these days. People dont know the difference and most people didnt know these things were wrong. That why percentage of nigerians that pass international exams are quite low. We can do better if we simply know where to draw the line.

    • [email protected]

      April 17, 2015 at 11:38 pm

      the number of Nigerians that pass international exams is low? Please where did you get your statistics from? So all those Nigerians schooling abroad how did they get there?

  72. Seyi

    April 17, 2015 at 12:00 am

    – ‘Inappropriate use of ‘though’ at the end of every sentence… E.g. I’m at home though, I’m eating though, I’m driving though.
    – ‘It is well’
    – I am strong when actually you’re ill
    – Innit
    – Cha Chao
    – Wash (The King/Queen of all…)

  73. kk

    April 17, 2015 at 12:10 am

    how about people who add an extra “n” to Nigeria, i.e. Ninegeria

    • Alero

      April 17, 2015 at 11:20 am

      You came up with that, so you are not left out . Right? 🙁

  74. yeoja

    April 17, 2015 at 12:16 am

    The one i really dislike is “I want to thank God for adding another year to my years”…Cmon “year to my years”, really? Another is “it doesn’t worth it” Arrrghhh

  75. i tire for una

    April 17, 2015 at 12:17 am

    Hey you guys should just take several seats jare, so its ok to say lol, lwkmd but not ok to say hbd and hml.when did u even learn all the america wonders sef, this is naija we love it like that, its different when its a grammatical error if its not then carry go jare. You go come learn english more than the white man. Smh

  76. AsMyself

    April 17, 2015 at 1:14 am

    Kai, how could I forget the most irritating birthday greeting EVER: “a bigger you I pray”. And this is after abbreviating it to HBD, GBURG, GMUB, IJMN. How? Why?

    And stuff like the Orekoya’s, designating a family unit, when ‘s (apostrophe S) talks of ownership. The Orekoyas, people, the Orekoyas. God bless you as you comply.

    • Blessmyheart

      April 17, 2015 at 8:34 am

      I’ve also wondered where the apostrophe came from.

  77. Kharis

    April 17, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Ok… Firstly, I am indeed proud of myself for having the patience to read every single comment. It was no small feat but nevertheless, very educative.

    I go on to say that every country has her own dialect of the English Language that is in itself unique and different from every other country’s. In my final year as a student of English Language and Literature, we took the Nigerian English as a course and we were taught that the English Language from generation to generation would evolve (would here used as a possibility) and this will be due to factors such as geographical changes, ethnicity, social class, slangs, pidgin, etc and Nigeria is no exception. Besides, words like ‘wow’ started off as being slangs and today it is in the English Dictionary. So, it is totally okay and normal to have a dialect of English different from what is the norm. After all, we have the American English and the British English, so why on earth can’t we have the Nigerian English. Please stop the racism ‘biko’.

    Also, it is not ‘pidgin language’, it is the ‘Nigerian Pidgin’ because so many other countries also have their style of pidgin.

    For all you ‘irkers’, I know I made some blunders but I don’t care. So, please stop being irked when someone makes a mistake. Life is a learning process, we are all allowed to make mistakes!!!!!

    • vicky

      April 17, 2015 at 6:57 am

      Awesome comment.

    • bridget

      April 17, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Intelligent comment

    • [email protected]

      April 17, 2015 at 11:35 pm

      God bless you! I couldn’t even get through the entire post, all these people will be forming over-tush!


    April 17, 2015 at 1:42 am

    I can’t believe no one mentioned using the word resume when referring to someone starting a new job! To resume something is to go back to what you had already started so how does starting a new job turn to resuming it? If the person was away from their job for a while and was due to go back to the same job then the use of the term resume is correct but for a new job the usage is incorrect. How about she starts her new role on Monday etc.
    The second one and BN you are guilty of this too “Omotola arrives London” or Tonto arrives Heathrow airport” really? Correct use is “Omotola arrives in London” “Tonto arrives at Heathrow airport”

  79. garland orhue

    April 17, 2015 at 2:08 am

    We like it or not language will continue to evolve as we evolve and might actually lost it’s value … who cares….we might not even need to utter a word or put it in writhing as far as we understand each other, we are cool. The epoch of Shakespeare died out long ago before what you have now as your present day English-remarkably without Shakespeare raising a brow ! if his ghost is to appear before me and tell me in person that he is sad of what is become of English, then i would know you guys are serious.

  80. M

    April 17, 2015 at 6:07 am

    the most annoying one for me is “I am strong” or “I’m feeling strong” when they want to say they are feeling well.

    Please where did this come from? Makes no sense!

  81. M

    April 17, 2015 at 6:07 am

    the most annoying one for me is “I am strong” or “I’m feeling strong” when they want to say they are not feeling well.

    Please where did this come from? Makes no sense!

  82. Seyi

    April 17, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Just remembered this one ‘tomao’ instead of tomorrow.

    All I have to say is Oh my God (in Asari Dokubo’s voice)… Burns the hell out of me

  83. Mae

    April 17, 2015 at 8:47 am

    1, LOOOOOOOL = Laughing out out out out out out out loud!
    2. Am fine = I’m fine
    3. I’m I correct? = Am i correct
    4. Are you from where?= What state are you from

  84. Funmilola

    April 17, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Here in Jos……..’cousin brother’ for a male cousin and ‘cousin sister’ for a female cousin. ‘Slipper shoe’ for sandals and ‘leather’ for polythene bags.

    • D

      April 17, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      ok cousin bro and cousin sis and even slipper shoe, i can’t still consider that like a pidgin english kind of talk as in there is a relationship but “leather” of polythene bag???…lost…..

  85. poison ivy

    April 17, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Am obsessed with this post, I keep reloading the Damn thing!!
    Anyway, I had a good laugh.
    African American English should also irk you guys naw…….Is you happy, I gots to go, what was you thinking………
    Moral of the story; Do you!!

    • D

      April 17, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      berrrooommm…for bedroom or mummy looo you for mummy loves you

  86. Dr. WHO

    April 17, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Nigerians and the English Language. Quite a few really annoy me.
    1. Evidences.. Is there such a word? I thought the correct word was Evidence.
    2. Matured… I see and hear this all the time. Please there is no such word.
    3. Lose/Loose… Now this one really freaks me out. Even the biggest media houses in the country are guilty. A good example; What if President Jonathan looses the election?

  87. aisha

    April 17, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Well what eeeeks me is when Nigerians say “how do you mean?” instead of what do you mean……really? how do you mean? Ok….

    • D

      April 17, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      How do you mean is totally different from what do you mean unless they are using it inappropriately. When someone says something like how something works. I can say how do you mean?

  88. Dr.N

    April 17, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    No one mentioned Yesterday night for last night. Lol
    That being said, some of these are necessary to be understood in Nigeria. Else u will keep explaining yourself

    • Niyi Taiwo

      October 26, 2016 at 9:41 am

      Another one is ‘next tomorrow’ instead of ‘in two days’

  89. yeancah

    April 17, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    You forgot to add how has been your day.. That gets me each time. And also I’m not feeling too good.. Haha what happened to how was your day? How did your day go? And I’m ill or I feel sick.. But I love my naija people anyday. I’m guilty of ”trafficate”, flash me,

  90. gideon

    April 17, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    it”s so dumb someone got angry because people use kkkkkk. instead of ok . not even knowing that there is nothing like ok. its okay

  91. Simplyjane

    April 17, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    Too numerous to mention e.g should in case. What is that? More grease to your elbow etc. #sigh

  92. [email protected]

    April 17, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    I hope this list is just for fun. While some of them irk me I know they are just Nigerian slangs and that’s what makes us unique and different e.g. i believe phrases like ‘come and be going’ equivalent of ‘oya wa ma lo’ are just a result of mistranslation!

  93. Anon Sayer

    April 18, 2015 at 7:59 am

    You forgot “Taken In”. The first cousin of “Put To Bed”. What was “Taken In” please?
    Also, “He/She is not on seat”. Meaning what exactly? Not at their desk, not siting on/in a chair, …?
    But don’t bash us. After all, even the owners of the language have theirs. And some sound just as wonky. Language is not static and each culture tends to add it’s own peculiar twists to what languages the use. It is quite fun sometimes to hear ours. What would be nice is to document how we got them.

  94. Anon Sayer

    April 18, 2015 at 8:00 am

    You forgot “Taken In”. The first cousin of “Put To Bed”. What was “Taken In” please?
    Also, “He/She is not on seat”. Meaning what exactly? Not at their desk, not siting on/in a chair, …?
    But don’t bash us. After all, even the owners of the language have theirs. And some sound just as wonky. Language is not static and each culture tends to add it’s own peculiar twists to what languages they use. It is quite fun sometimes to hear ours. What would be nice is to document how we got them.

  95. Mr Sims

    April 19, 2015 at 12:18 am

    Its so sad that instead of taking corrections we would rather bask in our ignorance. All because we would rather not seem knowledgable or stupid, which in of itself is the irony. Thanks for this article; I’m guilty of the ‘revert’ one

  96. @ms_lollz

    April 19, 2015 at 12:42 am

    1. You have ‘put on’ …..Why now?? just, why?
    2. I like your mannerlof ahpproach – ‘I like your manner of approach’… what is that???
    3. I do go out often times – For goodness sake!!
    4. Can I ‘get to’ chat with you some time? – NO!!
    5. I will just love to have your contact – contact DETAILS, my friend, add the word details!
    6. It seems ‘you’ busy – You are, you’re , pick one, but not ‘you busy’
    7. Please help me with your pen *instantly snatches pen from your grasp* – Wait, how does one ‘help another person with a pen?… It is “May I use your pen?” for goodness sake!
    8. Please dress/Dress down a bit/ please shift/ adjust for us – ………….
    9. He is putting on a blue jean – Haba!!
    10. That was where my car got stucked the other day – stuck…. just, stuck.. thanks


    1. Appy buffdai – Happy Birthday
    2. tnx – thanks
    3. Gm – Good morning
    4. [email protected] – battery
    5. 9t – night
    6. tk cre – take care

    …… the list goes on, but long story short, let’s put more effort guys, honezzly speaking.

  97. Tosin

    April 19, 2015 at 8:50 am

    in Naija english, it would have been runner-ups , not runners-up.

  98. ZOE QUIN

    April 20, 2015 at 3:30 am

    well, dis is nigeria where we have many languages dat have influenced d english language spoken in Nigeria, so expecting an average nigerian to use d english language properly is a total waste of energy, we have many options to english with which we can express our selves even better, so, put English for corner.

  99. Thatfinegirl

    April 20, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    The first time I saw “btw………”‘ I had to ask the sender to paraphrase because I was completely lost. Then she laughed out loud and typed “by the way……” so what stopped you from typing “by the way” at first? I asked and she said “girl you’re not current” (whatever that means)
    I find it very difficult having a chat with some of my contacts on bbm because of all these annoying abbreviations that I have to decipher before I understand the content and reply.
    I have a colleague who is so accustomed to sending messages with those abbreviations even when she’s sending official mails.

    People say lol instead of just laughing while having a conversation and since when did we replace “i said, she said, they said” with “I was like, she was like, they were like”? what is letter “y” doing in thing? @ “thingy”

    with intent: Mbok lemme return back go work, we can like to be doing anyhow. me i cannot come and go and kee my self… loooooooooolzzzz.. btw wetin “z” dey do for lol? hehe

  100. Wsb

    April 20, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    People of God, please help a sister out. I haveMAJOR issues with this sentence ‘Reverence the Lord’. It practically kills me every time I hear it. Shouldn’t it be Rever the Lord? Or am I just overly touchy???

  101. Fufu

    April 21, 2015 at 5:05 am

    I just saw someone use it (again), and I had to come and add it to the list.

    SEVERALLY is always used wrongly in a Nigerian’s vocabulary.
    SEVERALLY (definition): separately or individually.
    However I always see people use it to mean ‘many times’. eg) I called him severally, but he did not answer.

  102. Efee

    April 23, 2015 at 3:18 am

    OMG!!! I don laff tire today….Wow! I thought I was the only one that gets a headache when I hear or read…”I would get back to you or send it or do it etc”….I have come across so many professionals that write and say that thing and I’m thinking to myself….why???
    The other one that irks me is “My names are…” ok ooh, we have heard. Lol!
    In all, gotta love Naija.

  103. Ebony

    May 14, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Trafficate/trafficator. Shouldn’t it be indicate/indicator?
    When my boss goes “how was your night?” I intentionally wait like 5 secs before responding. Hopefully he’ll get the message one day. It irritates all the foreign workers at work too, lol.
    Lol. “Didn’t you see my ping?” and the message just says “hi” o.
    My dad still keeps this letter I wrote to him when I was in Jss1 about 16yrs ago, where I was complaining that my English is deteriorating by association with the students and teachers. Haha. I can only imagine the stories he’ll tell my kids.
    The irk list is endless though

  104. Gabe O

    November 12, 2015 at 10:02 am

    Thanks for this compilation.I look forward to seeing the second part.In Nigeria, everything works.Words like “Ginger”, “swagger” “sagalicious” .. name them. Is language born or made?

  105. Chidi

    May 17, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    English language evolved through borrowing, typographical errors, transliteration, wrong pronunciation, colonialism and many other ways. Nigerian English is starting to evolve, it has to carve its own niche. Have you ever wondered why ‘dumb’ have different meaning in BrE and NAmE?

    There are numerous words that have different meaning amongst English speakers from different countries. ‘can I give you a lift?’ is exclusively BrE whilst Americans will say, ‘can I give you a ride’? Canadians: ‘can I give you a drive?’ the language must certainly change when in contact with another.

    Let us just think over and stop criticising ourselves.

    Good news: the Nigerian ‘dash’ is gradually making its way to the dictionary.
    5th edition International English, a book written by Peter Trudgil and Jean Hannah, gives a guide to different varieties of standard English and you will surely find West African (Nigerian) English words in it alongside their British, American, Australian, New Zealand, South African counterparts.


  106. Niyi Taiwo

    October 26, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Thanks for making the conditional one of the main misuses. Recently, Olympia Drinks released an advert where the actors say ‘Today, I would dance, today I would play!!’ What the heck this means I do not know. I would be willing to call the company’s attention to this but their website is not helpful in knowing what department to address this to.

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