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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.”

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10 Most Annoying Nigerian Media English Expressions
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