Monday, December 03, 2007


In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Being an avid albeit untalented learner of the English language, I have a bad habit of asking people the grammatical validity of their sentences. This habit may be annoying to others but I see it necessary for me to improve my poor command of the language.

One day, there was a shout-out on an instant messaging software that piqued my curiosity.

"I am invicible!"

Is invicible a valid word? Feeling small that I do not know the word , I mustered all the strength in my cold body to ask him about the word.

Me: assalamualaikum
The other guy: Salamzzzzzzzzzzz. yo yo yo whats up?
Me: Hey, I have a question.
The other guy: k, k, sk wy?
(I assumed he said: Okay, okay, ask away)
Me: What's invicible?
The other guy: La dude........... Go google lah. Don't waste my time.
Me: Heheh, okay. Sorry.

So I did just that. I googled the word. You can learn so much from Google nowadays.

For example, I learned that invicible is not a valid word. Invisible, on the other hand, is a valid word and according to

invisible - adjective
1. Impossible to see; not visible
2. Not accessible to view; hidden.

So maybe my acquaintance misspelt the word invisible. Hoping that others would do the same to me, in the sense that others would correct me when I'm wrong, I decided to message my aforementioned acquaintance.

Me: Eh, I think you spelt the word wrongly. Maybe you wanted to write invisible instead?
The other guy: Eh lah, what lah you? Please no try be super clever and be rite all the time. I got this from a song lah! It must be rite. Go shove this word up your nose lah!
(Please no try be? I apologise to my readers for the poor grammar used by the other guy.)
Me: But, I googled it. It is wrong. It should be invisible.
The other guy: Hey you cottage boy! (Maybe he wanted to say budak kampung?) This invicible is not meaning cannot see. This meaning i am super. Cannot be beat. Now go away!
Me: Oh, okay. I'm sorry.

Before I even got the chance to press enter, the other guy decided to go offline. (Did he really? Maybe he just appeared offline to me.)

That was an egg on my face. I didn't know that he took the word from a song. How was I to know?

With my face still red, I googled the term "song invicible". The first result is a YouTube link to a video clip of a song by Muse, which according to the video description, is entitled 'Invicible'.

So this was the song that The Other Guy was referring to. Silly me for wanting to correct him.

After 3 minutes of listening to the song, I found the lyrics to be quite interesting and maybe I could improve my English if I knew the lyrics to the song.

Again, I googled. This time I googled "Muse lyrics".

To my surprise, I couldn't find the lyrics to the song 'Invicible'. Instead I found lyrics for the song 'Invincible'.

I was really dumbfounded. Is 'Invicible' a valid word? Or should it have been 'Invincible' instead?

I looked up the definition for these two words and came to a conclusion:

Invicible is invincible spelt wrongly but deemed to be proper by those who think that people on the internet do not misspell words.


1. invicible is wrong.
2. Invisible is a proper word.
3. Invincible is also a word, which according to, is defined as an adjective which brings the meaning of incapable of being overcome or defeated.
4. When someone corrects you, be nice to him or her.
5. Your collection of illegal media is not the definitive source for proper spelling.

Allah knows best.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Incident and accident

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

According to

incident noun an event or occurrence

accident noun an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally

So what is the difference between incident and accident?
From the way I see it, every accident is an incident but not every incident is an accident.

Allah knows best.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Singular plural - Every

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

One of the most painful rules in English for Malay speakers (at least I found it hard) is the usage of 's' for verbs used with singular nouns.

We Malay speakers tend to swallow the 's' because the aforementioned rule is not practised in our language which for now will remain to be called Bahasa Malaysia even after attempts by certain groups to change it to Bahasa Melayu instead.

Even after attending hours and hours of grueling extra private classes, for so is the norm of the Malaysian students, parents tend to send them to such classes after school, hoping that it would improve their beloved children's academic performances, I still have difficulties deciding whether I should put an 's' on the verbs in my sentences.

Okay, the previous sentence is needlessly too long. A better sentence would be:

Even after attending hours and hours of grueling extra private classes, I still have difficulties deciding whether I should put an 's' on the verbs in my sentences.

For example, I would want to put an 's' for the verb that follows the pronoun 'every*' (everyone, everything, etc.) because, after all, 'every*' is translated into 'semua' in Malay and I consider that to be plural.

But poor alas, every form of 'every*' is actually considered singular in English and therefore verbs used with 'every*' are in the singular form, which more often than not, are verbs with an extra 's' at the end of it.


Every is considered singular in English.

For example:

Everyone likes ice-cream.
Everything on the table is up for grabs.

Allah knows best.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dissuade <> Persuade

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Dissuade is the opposite of persuade.

Allah knows best.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I am a 24-year-old student.

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

A 24-year-old student? An undergraduate even? How pathetic is that!

The first sentence sounds grammatically improper but is it really wrong?

No, the sentence (as absurd as it might sound because a 24-year-old should already be working) is actually grammatically correct.

When a numerical quantity is used as an adjective, the letter 's' which accompanies the plural form of a noun is omitted.

So, a student who is 24 years old is also a 24-year-old student. A lecture which takes 3 hours to finish is a 3-hour-lecture and a pass, which grants you access for 3 days is called a 3-day-pass and not a 3 days pass.

Allah knows best.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Guinea, Ginny

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Guinea is pronounced with a hard g. Like that of a gun.

Ginny Weasley, from the world of Harry Potter, is pronounced with a soft g. Like a genie in a bottle.

Allah knows best.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I didn't do nothing!

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,


Thug 1: You can't do nothing to me man! You can go to hell!
Policeman: What is it that I can't do? Nothing?
Thug 1: You heard me right! You can't do nothing to me!
Policeman: So I can do anything to you?

End observation.

Obviously Thug 1 doesn't frequent this site often. His sentence doesn't make any sense at all.

Can't do nothing? Huh? What? Let us dissect this sentence and find the true meaning behind it!

Can + not + do + nothing = Modal Verb + Negative + Verb + Negative

In this case, the not is used to indicate the negative state of the modal verb can to indicate an inability of someone or something to do something.

Do is an intransitive verb which according to means to perform or execute something. The usage of do in conjuction with nothing (do nothing) indicates that nothing is being performed or executed.

So when we combine can not + do nothing, we get =

Inability of someone or something to perform or execute nothing.

Which doesn't make sense at all. What he probably wanted to say is:

You can't do anything to me.

Which means:

Inability of someone or something to perform anything.

Aaaah, which makes more sense because maybe the policeman is powerless to do anything. Why is he powerless? Who knows, maybe the thug has political immunity like many of those working at the United Nations who park their cars anywhere they like because they don't have to pay parking tickets.

So the moral of this entry is: Instead of saying I didn't do nothing, say I didn't do anything. It makes more sense.

Allah knows best.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Loosen up! If you lose, try again.

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Here are some words for today:

Loosen - Verb
1. To release from restraint
2. To cause or permit or become less strict

Loose - Adjective
1. Not rigidly fastened or securely attached

Lose - Verb
1. Not winning
Present: lose
Past: lost
Perfect: lost

Loosen up - Phrasal verb
1. To become less tense, to relax.

I am writing this entry to loosen up myself before an exam.

Allah knows best.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Verbs as adjectives. Case study: Included

In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Case study: included

Included is the past participle of the verb include.

Taken from

include verb - to contain as a secondary or subordinate element

In some cases, included is used as an adjective, describing an object which has been subjected to the verb include.


1. Included as an adjective:

The taxi fee is included in the ticket.

2. Included as a verb:

Two new ministers have been included into the new cabinet.

Further case study.

What is the difference between is included and was included?

In this case, the difference is the tense of the verb to be in the sentences. The first one is in present tense while the latter in the past tense.

Is included is used when you are describing something which is, as of the moment, included.

Example: The taxi fee is included in the ticket. Meaning: The ticket covers the taxi fee as well.

Was included is used when you are describing something which at first, you included it but at a later date you decided to exclude it.


Customer: I would like to buy a ticket to Rosenheim please.
Accountant: Eh? Excuse me? I'm sorry sir, this is finance, please hold on while I connect you to sales.
Customer: Oh, I'm terribly sorry. The girl before connected me here. I had no idea. Sorry to take up your time.
Accountant: No problem sir. This happens all the time. It seems that people nowadays are terribly useless at what they are supposed to do.
Customer: Tell me about it. The other day I had to fire 5 people because they didnt seem to like working. Yes, they wanted money but no, they did not want to work. How was that ever going to work?
Accountant: I'm terribly sorry to hear that.
Customer: Eh, thats finance right?
Accountant: Yes, sir.
Customer: I was wondering, whether the taxi fee is still included in the ticket?
Accountant: (What does that got to do with finance?) Oh sir, I'm sorry to tell you it is no more included. It was included last year but it has been excluded since January this year. I'm sorry to inform you that.
Customer: Oh, thats too bad. But hey, thanks for the info.
Accountant: Welcome.

From this lengthy example, we can learn that:

1. Good help is hard to get nowadays.
2. Was included is used for something which happened in the past.

Allah knows best.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

According to Reuters, China is encouraging its pilots to improve their English. But some pilots have the wrong attitude and are prevaricating.

Example taken from this article.

Word for the day:
prevaricate - verb(intransitive): to stray from or evade the truth, to make untrue declarations.

Allah knows best.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Did you know?

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Did you know that a verb that follows a did or a do is always in its root form?

So do verbs that follow a does.


Did you do that? -> The root form of does is do.

He does not know how to answer that question. -> Know is used here for a third person pronoun(he) instead of knows.

Yes, she was here but she did not eat the pie. -> Eat is used in its root form even though the event was in the past.

Allah knows best.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Word for the day: Phlegmatic.

phlegmatic - adjective: Having or suggesting a calm, sluggish temperament; unemotional.


Everyone seems to be annoyed and some even angered by his decision. His phlegmatic manner in announcing the decision might have also contributed to the resentment against him.

Allah knows best.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

I have to admit, Mathematics is sometimes simpler than English.

Mathematics is logical. For example, if you subtract a number with a number bigger than it is, it becomes negative and gains a minus sign to indicate that it is a negative number.

English would be easier if it had such a rule. To form an opposite of a word, add a minus sign before the word.

For example the opposites of efficient, sufficient and sane would be -efficient, -sufficient and -sane.

But since, English, like all languages, is not at all logical, the opposites of efficient, sufficient and sane are actually inefficient, insufficient and insane.

We seem to have a pattern here no? It seems that the opposites are formed using the in- prefix. It is like Mathematics, but with in- instead of a minus sign. Can English really be this simple?

Sadly, no.

Because when you plagiarise the work of another and you lose credibility by doing it, you do not become incredible.

Allah knows best.

ps: Plagiarise is pronounced 'play' (like playing football) + je (like jerk but without the rk) + rice (the food).

Friday, April 13, 2007

Simple present tense

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

After a long period (longer than even most medic student blogs) of no updates, it is only proper that I update this blog with something simple which is, the present tense.

The present tense is the simplest of all tenses in English because verbs retain their infinitive form in present tense. Since most verbs are learnt in their infinitive form, it is easier (at least for me) to construct sentences in the present tense.

Infinitive form of a verb is also referred to as the root word of a verb in most English classes that I have attended.


Infinitive form of slept is sleep!*
Infinitive form of ate is eat!*
Infinitive form of read is read!*

When do we use the present tense?
I don't know about other people but I use present tense to describe habits, common facts and current non-continuous occurrences.

Examples for habits:

He plays badminton every day.
He never washes his hand. Ever.

Example for factual statements:

The earth is spherical.

Examples for current occurrences:

I am here.
He is here.

Frequently asked questions on present tense:

Why do we say 'I am eating' instead of 'I eat' when we are describing that we are currently eating? Shouldn't we use the present tense instead?

abd: Because it doesn't sound right. I'm sure most grammar books would explain it better but my explanation would be is that eating is a continuous action and therefore both the verb 'to be' in its proper tense and the -ing suffix is required.

But in most anime subtitles, the verb 'to be' and the -ing suffix are usually omitted when describing a continuous action. Are you wrong?

abd: I might be wrong but I think I'm not. I don't think anime subtitles are the best material for you to be learning proper English grammar. Try BBC Learning English instead.

So, there you have it. The simple present tense. Simple is it not?

Sentences with * should be read in a very cheerful and enthusiastic manner.

Allah knows best.
Disclaimer: I am neither an English native speaker nor a qualified English teacher.