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