Friday, April 17, 2020

It is “as of” NOT “as at”

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

Many reporters in Nigeria have asked me privately if the phrase “as at,” which many Nigerian newspapers deploy to indicate a specific time frame, is grammatical. I’ve chosen to make the answer public and hope that prospective questioners will see it, which should obviate the need to ask me again.

The conventional prepositional phrase used in Standard English to indicate a specific date or time is “as of,” as in, “As of April 17, 2020, 430 people have tested positive for COVID-19.” Or "As of today, 50 people have died from COVID-19."

The phrase “as at” is used only in the idiosyncratic phraseology of (British) accountants to mean “as of.” Because "as at" isn't in general use outside accounting, you won’t find it in many conventional dictionaries. Most everyday native English speakers would, in fact, probably be mystified by it.

In other words, “as at” is almost entirely absent in the demotic speech of native speakers, although it has emerged as a part of the lexical repertoire of Nigerian journalese.

In my December 17, 2009 grammar column titled, “10 Most Annoying Nigerian Media English Expressions,” the phrase “as at the time of filing this report” was number 3.

I wrote: “Well, the correct expression, which is actually a fixed prepositional phrase, is ‘AS OF,’ not ‘as at.’ So that sentence should read: ‘As of the time of filing this report.’ This solecism has sadly percolated deep into the conventions of Nigerian English in general.”

Related Articles:
10 Most Annoying Nigerian Media English Expressions
Politics of Grammar Column


A. F. Usman said...

I will appreciate it if you can be kind enough to send me some of your articles particularly the one mentioned above. Thank you. A.F. Usman

Chiemerie A. Okechukwu said...

Greetings Prof,
Is there any way one can get a collection of your articles over the years? Matter of fact, for my personal use, I have been saving links to your articles which I read weekly for 3 years now. However, I have not been able to print out the articles so saved.

Unknown said...

More wisdom