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COMMONLY MISUSED ENGLISH WORDS, PHRASES, & TENSES, 12

June 9, 2021

PHRASE OF THE DAY: ‘OF COURSE’

This is “No Bullshiting“, by Harry Agina.

Greetings of the day, folks!

When you say the phrase, ‘OF COURSE’ in a statement, what do you mean to convey? I ask because many people have a complete misunderstanding of the phrase and what it is supposed to do, meeeeeeeen!!!

Its misapplication is very common in Nigeria, to the point that it has become a sort of cliché for some people, who throw it around just for the heck of sounding grammatically advanced, or something. Virtually every doggone sentence that comes out of the mouths of such culprits comes with, “of course.”

Well, folks, I’ve got to tell ya, the dude called ‘MR. OF-COURSE’ has just one purpose in life, and that is to convey the subject as a KNOWN or COMMON, or OBVIOUS FACT. When properly applied, those two words imply that BOTH THE SPEAKER AND THE LISTENER(S) ALREADY KNOW THAT THE SUBJECT OF THE SENTENCE IS A FACT. In other words, the speaker is virtually telling you, the listener, that YOU SHOULD ALREADY KNOW what he/she just said, or what hes/he is about to say, depending on where the phrase is place in the sentence.

Example 1: “Folks, it’s another Sunday, and I bring you another edition of SUNDAY-SUNDAY MEDICINE on NBB’s Praise-Worship series.” This is how I introduce NBB sometimes on Sundays. In brackets following “It’s another Sunday”, I often crack a joke saying, “as if you didn’t know already that it’s a Sunday.” My purpose for stating the obvious (that it is a Sunday), is purely rhetorical, shikena! Indeed, if I am in a jovial mood, and somebody says such sentence to me on a Sunday, I would spontaneously, jovially, retort with, “Of course, it’s a Sunday; tell me something else that I didn’t know already, meeeeeeen!!!”

A good application of the phrase, ‘OF COURSE’, in that sentence can go thus: Folks, it’s another Sunday, of course, and I bring you another edition of NBB SUNDAY-SUNDAY MEDICINE…” The “of course” in the sentence means OBVIOUSLY, or AS WE ALL KNOW, or INDISPUTABLY.

Example 2: “Every human being will die someday, of course, so let’s all  prepare for life in heaven after death.” The speaker said the globally known fact that people must die, only for the reason or purpose to encourage the listener to seek for salvation by living in the fear of God. Otherwise, he/she shouldn’t even say such OBVIOUS fact. Personally, if I don’t see a good justification in the second half of the sentence for mentioning that “Every human being will die someday” (as usual), I would spontaneously retort with, “Tell me something new, or something that I didn’t know already.”

So, yes, ‘AS USUAL’ is another way of saying, ‘OF COURSE.’ ‘NATURALLY’ is also another way of saying ‘OF COURSE’, and, ‘IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING’ is yet another way of putting it.

Now, in contrast, if I ask you “What are you doing at noon tomorrow”, and you respond with something like: “I will be in my office, of course,” which connotes that I should know that you will be in your office. I am liable to spontaneously retort with something like: How the heck do you expect me to know that you MUST be in your office, huh? Who says that you MUST be in your office tomorrow at noon, or that you MUST always be in your office at noon everyday, huh, huh?? In other words, your use of “of course” is not proper in that sentence, because, due to all manner of possible factors, you could be anywhere but your office at noon tomorrow…it is not necessarily a given fact, or A CONSTANT that is guided by any universal rule.

I was inspired for this blog during a conversation with a dude that I had never met before in my life, and I asked him where he lives. He responded, “I live in New York, of course.” And I was like… hey, what is “of course (or obvious)” about you living in New York, huh? He should only use “of course” if it is a KNOWN FACT that he is bound to live in New York for a commonly or universally known reason. For instance, if, for whatever unlikely reason, everybody in the world who bears his name MUST live in New York, then he would be right to EXPECTS me to know that he MUST live in New York, because he has already told me his name. So, I should extrapolate that he is BOUND to be living in New York due to his name. In other words, the reason for saying ‘of course’ is that the person who asked the question is EXPECTED TO KNOW the answer, because the factor that makes it OBVIOUS has been said, and, that factor is that everybody that bears the said name is BOUND to live in New York. In fact, even if I had known him before, and I used to know that he was living in New York then, he is still wrong to use “of course’, because he could have moved away from New York since the last time that we met. There is no law, which says that he must live in New York all through his life.

So, whenever you use the phrase, ‘OF COURSE’ in a sentence, make sure that the subject of the sentence is COMMON KNOWLEDGE to your audience. As always, I know, that you know, that I ain’t bullshitting ya, not one bit, meeeeeeeeen!!!

NBB INFOTAINMENT: “HELLO MAMA AFRICA”:

This song is a ‘kinda’ Afrocentric message of homesickness of some Africans in the Diaspora, Jamaicans in this case, whose minds reach out to their fatherland. It has a hint of EXODUS from the Diaspora back home to Africa, too, with a UTOPIAN Africanism and Africanization ideal, if you will.

I have featured the artist, Garnett Silk of Jamaica on NBB more than once, so, he needs no introduction to my regular readers. But I will tell you that “Hello Mama Africa” was published in the year 2000, six years after Silk perished along with his mama in a fire incident at his mama’s home in Mandeville, Jamaica, on December 9, 1994.

Here is “Hello Mama Africa” for ya: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_3AYURa3BU

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