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25.05.2019 Feature Article

Language Agenda: "Consul" NOT "Consular"

Language Agenda:


In a report on kidnapping a diplomat, a leading Ghanaian newspaper describes the victim as the "Estonian Consular-General."

With all humility, LANGUAGE AGENDA observes that "Consular-General" is a misnomer (wrong name). The correct word is CONSUL-GENERAL.

Below is the explanation:

The compound noun "Consul-General" is formulated from the simple noun "Consul." The adjective form of "Consul" is "Consular." Other related words are:

● "Consulate" (Another noun as the office)


● "Consulship" (Another noun as the post).

In the literature of International Relations and Diplomacy, a "Consul" is an official appointed by a sovereign country to promote its economic interests and protect its citizens in a foreign state.

Therefore, a consul of the highest status is the "Consul-General" who ideally heads a "Consulate-General."

As an adjective, "Consular" can qualify the officials and duties of a consulate. But when it is mixed with the word "General" to form a compound noun as a title, it violates semantic and diplomatic norms and causes grammatical injuries.


Let us consider the following illustrative sentences in which "Consular" is used in its proper adjectival contexts.

● Wuntiti is one of the CONSULAR officials at the Ghana Consulate in Jeddah.

In this context, "consular" is an adjective qualifying the plural noun "officials."

● Chalpang renders the best CONSULAR services at the Consulate of Dagbon State in Shanghai.

In this context, "consular" functions as an adjective qualifying the plural noun "services."

It is instructive to state that "Consul-General" can be written without the hyphen. This implies that it can be written as "Consul General" or "consul general."


Dear reader, as you enjoy this discourse, join me in prayers to become the CONSUL-GENERAL OF PEACE AND UNITY in all conflict zones in the world.

Allah is the Best Linguist.

Dr. Abubakar Mohammed Marzuq Azindoo

Lecturer, University of Applied Management, Ghana

Abubakar Mohammed Marzuq Azindoo
Abubakar Mohammed Marzuq Azindoo, © 2019

This author has authored 62 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: AbubakarMohammedMarzuqAzindoo

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