By Farooq Kperogi
I know grammar is the last thing on most people’s minds right now, but for the few people who care (and who have been sending me inquiries in private messages), here are six coronavirus grammar lessons:
1. People test positive FOR coronavirus, not “TO” it. It is, “El-Rufai tests positive FOR coronavirus,” not “El-Rufai tests positive TO coronavirus.”
2. Quarantine is pronounced KWO-RAN-TEEN, not KWO-RAN-TAIN, in both British and American English. In other words, quarantine rhymes with “canteen,” not “valentine.”
3. Coronavirus is a single word, although “corona virus” is an acceptable variant.
4. People tend to use (“self-)quarantine” and “(self-)isolation” interchangeably, but they’re different. You (self-)quarantine yourself when you suspect that you may have the disease because you have come in contact with people who have tested positive for it. You go into (self-)isolation when you test positive for the disease.
5. If you stay home NOT because you came in contact with people who have the disease and NOT because you tested positive for it, but because your government insists you do, or you do so on your own volition just to eliminate or decrease your chances of getting the disease, it’s called “shelter in place.”
6. An epidemic is a disease that temporarily affects a large number of people in a locality while a pandemic is a disease that has spread throughout a country, a continent or the entire world. Coronavirus is obviously a pandemic.
You don’t “contact” a disease; you “contract” it.
Farooq Kperogi is an associate professor of Journalism and Emerging Media