Sunday, August 02, 2009

Of things that happened in the past

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

Don't you think there are just way too many tenses in the English language? You have the past tense, the perfect past, the present tense and more other tenses that I think I will ever use. Be that as it may, tenses are part and parcel of the English language therefore it is vital that a learner of the language properly understands the different tenses and their usage.

As a start, when do I use the simple past tense?

The simple past tense should be used for describing things that happened in the past.

For example, yesterday I attended my friend's wedding reception. So for verbs that we want to use to describe what happened at the reception should be used with the past tense.

I had Nasi Minyak at the wedding.
The Nasi Minyak was delicious.

Simple is it not? For things that happened in the past, we should use the past tense.

Allah knows best.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


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

When do we use the adjective common? Here are several cases in which I would use the word common:

1) When we share something.


In these darkest hours, let us forget our differences and unite to face the common enemy!

2) When something is widespread.


That is a common mistake.
Mat Rempits in Shah Alam? Sadly, that is a common sight.

3) Normal, nothing special.


I am but a common man.

So those are the cases in which I would use the word common. Interestingly, I have also seen the word common prevalently used in such phrases:

Common Manchester United!
Common Ahmad!

This is actually a common mistake. In cases like this, the word common should be replaced with the proper phrase: come on.

"Come on" is used when you want to urge someone to perform better.

For example, during a match, you would say "Come on Manchester United!". In this case, you are urging the football club to play better.

Hopefully this has helped my readers to understand the difference between common and come on.

Allah knows best.

Friday, March 06, 2009

An history? Seriously, why?

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

Everyone who knows even a little bit of English should know that the article 'a' is used before words that do not start with a vowel.

For example: a loaf of bread.
However, when the word starts with a vowel (a, e, i, o or u), the article 'a' becomes 'an'.

For example: an apple.

Simple, is it not?

Well, no. English can never be this simple. There are always exceptions to the rules. Always.

So for words that do start with a vowel but somehow pronounced like they start with a consonant(letters which are not vowels) , the article used is 'a'.

For example: a uniform

Because uniform is pronounced you-nee-form.

How about words that start with a consonant, but the consonant is silent? Like that of the word 'hour'.

In this case, we use 'an' instead of 'a'.

For example: an hour.

So these are the rules and exceptions that determine the usage of a and an in English.

If I were to ask you, which article would you use for the word 'history'?

According to what we just learnt, it should be 'a', right? As in, 'a history'.

But why, oh why do we still see people use 'an history' in writings?

I am aware of the fact that people used to write it that way. The keywords here are 'used to'. Not 'we still do' but 'used to'. When old people write 'an history', I am probably okay with that but when people who are just as young as I am write 'an history', that is just being pretentious.

Allah knows best.

Friday, January 16, 2009


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

atrocious adjective - extremely or shockingly wicked, cruel, or brutal

Atrocious. That is how you describe the massacre of the Palestinian people by the Israeli army.

So far, the merciless bombardments and assaults by the Israeli army that began 27 December 2008 have reportedly killed 1010 Palestinians, amongst them 315 children.*

Can we afford not to care about it? Would it be just if we do nothing about it?

Although we may be powerless to stop the butchering of our Palestinian brothers and sisters, God willing, we can help them get through this.

Please, donate to the Palestine Relief Fund.


Cheque payable to MERCY MALAYSIA
CIMB Account No : 1424-000-6561053

Futher information can be found here.

Allah knows best.

* Source: Palestinian Ministry of Health/ Ocha
Disclaimer: I am neither an English native speaker nor a qualified English teacher.