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Pluralising PVC

It is a word bound to be recurrent in Nigeria at least till the first quarter of 2023 when the general elections will hold. It will, indeed, vibrate beyond the time, based on how the country’s democracy does move from polls to courts. That term is PVC, referring to that precious card which will largely determine our arguably embattled future. Or, is the future not embattled when the present is as terribly troubled as ours?

But how do we pluralise PVC? Well, as an acronym, there seems to be no big deal about it. Just PVCs. One PVC, two PVCs. It is only when the entire clause is in the upper case that the ‘s’ too has to be capitalised:

The three PVCs are for the three of us. (Correct)

THE THREE PVCS ARE FOR THE THREE OF US. (Correct)

When written in full, pluralising PVC may become intriguing. For even in the singular form – referring to just one PVC – is it a permanent voter’s card, permanent voters’ card or permanent voters card? These are among the various versions that stakeholders use in different contexts. I, indeed, had to consult one of my teachers, Professor Adeleke Fakoya, before arriving at ‘permanent voter’s card’. Another standard form is permanent voter card, which American English could favour. The real question, yet, is: what is the plural form of the permanent voter’s card or permanent voter card? The answer is permanent voter’s cards or permanent voter cards.

Consider the following clauses too:

Some 5,000 permanent voters card were found in the room. (Wrong)

Some 5,000 permanent voters’ card were found in the room. (Wrong)

Some 5,000 permanent voter’s cards were found in the room. (Correct)

Some 5,000 permanent voter cards were found in the room. (Correct)

In other words, it is the card that is pluralised, not ‘voter’.

 

Voters’ register

As we have school register, attendance register etc., we also have voter register/voters’ register. This is the list of – or a document containing – the names/identities of all the people eligible to vote in an election. What then is the plural form of the electoral register? Just voter registers or voters’ registers, as in when referring to a collection of the registers of the voters in Oyo, Ekiti and Jigawa states.  If there is a voters’ register for the presidential election, then, there would be 36 voters’ registers for the 36 states, plus the one for the FCT:

INEC has updated the voters’ register.

INEC has updated the voters’ register for Oyo State.

INEC has updated the voters’ registers for Oyo, Ondo and Kwara states.

Pluralising REC – Resident Electoral Commissioner

This is very simple. We have one resident electoral commissioner, and two or three resident electoral commissioners:

The only resident electoral commissioner invited has left.

The three resident electoral commissioners invited have left.

This is the resident electoral commissioner’s chair.

 

Voter vs electorate

The two words are synonymous but they are hardly interchangeable. The reason is that while ‘voter’ refers to an individual, ‘electorate’ refers to the body of voters in a country/state/constituency. As a result, the latter is usually plural, without needing an ‘s’. The relationship between them is like that of ‘employee’ and ‘staff’:

I am a voter. (Correct)

I am an electorate. (Wrong)

We are the electorate. (Correct)

The voter is eager to cast his vote. (Correct)

The electorate are eager to cast their votes.  (Correct)

 

Cast or casted?

Present tense: cast

Past tense: cast

Present/past participle: cast

I always cast my vote in Benin.

I will soon cast my vote.

Have you cast your vote?

    Yes, I have cast my vote. (Not casted!).

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