Salaam, Everybody,

Some Idiomatic uses of the Verb MAKE :

1.I don’t need a bigger table. I can make do with this small one..
( make do = manage with available resources ).

2. The loss is too big to make good.
( make good = recover / compensate for )

3. I could make neither head, nor tail of his stupid story.
( make head or tail = understand )

4. The scheme is making speedy headway.
( make headway = make progress )

5. It is a make-or-break situation for the political parties.
( make-or-break situation = a situation that results in either complete success or complete failure ) – 1 July 18

Salaam, Everybody,

Today some Idiomatic uses of the word PUT:

1. Zafar Niazi’s comments on my posts are sometimes nice input.
( input = additional information )

2, The new machinery has increased the factory’s output.
( output = production )

3. The government is trying to put a brave face on increase in petroleum prices.
( put a brave face on = trying to conceal a fault or weakness )

4.Some people think the elections in Pakistan are always a put-up job.
( put-up job = planned to deceive )

5 Putting two and two together I guessed that he wanted to cheat me.
( put two and two together = to find out the truth by experience or observation )  2 July 18

Salaam, Everybody,
Some Idiomatic uses of the Verb PULL:
1. He pulled a long face when he saw that he had missed the train.
( pull a long face = express sorrow or disappointment )
2. Election candidates will pull any stunt to win the favour of the people.
( pull a stunt = do something risky )
3. He pulled a fast one escaping the police through the backdoor.
( pull a fast one = play a clever trick ) 
3 July 18

Salaam, Everybody,

Some interesting uses of the Verb TAKE :

1. I can’t decrease my intake of tea.
( intake = consumption / use of a food or drink )

2. He can learn English easily because he is quick on the uptake.
( quick on the uptake = quick to grasp / understand )

3. Being slow on the uptake he could not understand my advice.
( slow on the uptake = slow to grasp / pick up )

4. A police van overtook our car near the check post.
( overtake = pass / cross )

5. I undertake to complete this task in a week .
( undertake = take a responsibility )  4 July 18

Salaam, Everybody,

Some amusing uses of the Verb DO.
1. He overdoes admiring his boss.
( overdo = do more than necessary /exaggerate )

2. I can outdo you in writing.
( outdo = do much better than someone )

3. He was undone by his habit of spending more than his income.
( undone = ruined )

4. I could not eat the underdone meat.
( underdone = not completely cooked ) – 5 July 18

Salaam, Everybody,

So far we have been watching the behaviour of Verbs in various combinations. Let’s now take a look at some interesting combinations of Prepositions. Here are some combinations of the Preposition UNDER :

1. An honourable man never likes to be an underling to a leader or a boss,
( underling = a person who is ready to do anything for his superior = چمچہ ).

2. Lack of rainfall underlines the need for dams to store water.
( underline = stress / emphasize ).

3. The company underwrites to recover the losses.
( underwrite = take responsibility to pay )

NOTE: We can also use ‘ underscore’ instead of ‘underline.

More of this tomorrow, INSHAALLAH. .- 6 July 18

Salaam, Everybody,

Some more combinations of the word UNDER :

1. The health-card scheme is helpful for the underdog.
( underdog = poor or weak people )

2. I don’t know what underlies his angry mood.
(underlie = to be the cause of a feeling)

3. The underworld must be crushed to ensure peace in the city.
( underworld = organized crime / criminal gangs )

4. The government should spend more money on education in underdeveloped areas,
( underdeveloped = backward ) . 7 July 18

Salaam, Everybody,

Some interesting combinations of the word OVER :

1. He went overboard in that business and lost everything.
( go overboard = spend too much )

2. Dams are not built overnight.
( overnight = quickly / in a very short time )

3. I have to oversee the repairs to my house.
( oversee = supervise )

4, He was overweighed by his financial troubles.
( overweighed = oppressed / depressed ) 9 July 18

Salaam, Everybody,

The word OVER is commonly used in a number of combinations. We studied some yesterday. Here are some more :

!. You can’t apply for that job because you are overage.
( overage = above the given age limit )

2. The bus was overcrowded , so I decided to wait for the next bus.
( overcrowded = more than full )

3. The situation is overall not favourable for the election.
( overall = in general / as a whole )

4. The cake was thickly overlaid with fresh cream.
( overlay = cover ) – 10 July 18

Salaam, Everybody,

Some more combinations of the word OVER:

1. Only a few banks allow overdraft.
( overdraft = to withdraw more money than the balance in the bank account )

2. We have to overlook the faults of kids.
( overlook = ignore / pardon )

3. The scheme failed because of the planners’ oversight.
( oversight = negligence )

4. The opposition’s criticism of amnesty scheme is an overkill.
( overkill = more than necessary / inappropriate ) – 11 July 18

Salaam, Everybody,

My unusually long absence has not been without reason. As I said in my Urdu post yesterday, I have not been feeling well. It is nothing serious. Just seasonal fever, but I have to take care.

Anyway, from tomorrow, INSHAALLAH , I ‘ll resume my class. I hope you’ll not mind a slight change in the time table, as I ‘ll be writing my English post around 4 pm. I still have some combinations of the word OVER in my mind, which will appear in my next post.  15 July 18

Salaam, Everybody,

Some more combinations of the word OVER:

1. I got the car overhauled before leaving for Lahore.
( overhaul = thoroughly clean and repair )

2. As I did not know his exact address I overshot his house twice before I finally found it.
( overshoot = pass/ cross by mistake )

3. Being overactive in politics, he lost many of his best friends.
( overactive = more than necessarily active )

4. The death of his mother overshadowed his childhood.
( overshadow = make less happy ) – 16  July 18

Salaam, Everybody,

Some combinations of the Adverb/ Preposition OFF:

1. His offhand speech did not impress his listeners.
( offhand = without planning or preparation / abrupt / sudden )

2. We must offload all this old furniture.
( offload = sell away / dispose of )

3. I was offline when you called last night.
( offline = not connected to internet )

4. This general store is an offshoot of Shezan Superstore.
( offshoot = branch )

5. The standoff between the government and the dealers has caused the increase in prices of oil.
( standoff = deadlock / tension / indecision ).  18 July 18

Salaam, Everybody,

Today we celebrate the third anniversary of our class.

It was on this day, around this time, in 2015, that I wrote my first English post. As Zafar Niazi and Haji Ikram could recall, I made my debut on the face-book with writing a daily English post. It was about learning English.

It took me a day or two to learn Urdu composing from my son , Muhammad Akram Ali Malik. Unlike my English posts, my Urdu posts became immediately popular. But I didn’t give up writing a daily English post, because I love as much to write English as Urdu.
I have kept at it, and will, In sha ALLAH keep it up. 26 July 18

Salaam, Everybody,

Back to business.
Let’s study some combinations of the word IN.

1. I’m indebted to you for your kind help.
( indebted = grateful / thankful )

2. I usually stay indoors at night .
( indoors = in the house )

3. He has to look after his invalid mother .
( invalid = sick / disabled )

4. Thanks for your helpful input.
( input = advice / suggestion / additional information )

5. The doctor advised him to reduce sugar intake.
( intake = consumption ) 27 July 18

Salaam, Everybody,

The word IN is also used as a PREFIX.
A Prefix is a word or combination of letters added to the beginning of a word to make another word with a new meaning.
IN as a Prefix usually means ‘not’ . For instance :

1. incapable ( in + capable ) = not capable

2. incompetent ( in + competent ) = not competent

3. insufficient ( in+sufficient ) = not sufficient

4. invalid ( in+valid ) = not valid

From today onwards we shall be studying Prefixes. There are many other Prefixes besides IN, you will see.

Now tell me honestly, do you understand what I have said in this post ?  28 July 18

Salaam, Everybody,

IM is also used as a Prefix in the same meaning as IN —-” not” or “no”.
Here are some examples :

1. imbalance ( im+ balance ) = no balance / lack of balance

2. immaterial ( im+material ) = not important
( Please note that the word “material” is now commonly used to mean important )

3. immoral ( im+moral ) = not moral / without moral

4. immortal ( im+mortal ) = not mortal / everlasting

5. impossible ( im+possible ) = not possible

6. improbable ( im+probable ) = not probable / not likely

I would welcome my learned colleagues , Zafar Niazi, Muhammad Fayyaz and Amjad Ali Malik to join me in this task.  29 July 18

Salaam, Everybody,

Some uses of the Prefix DIS.

1. I disbelieve your stupid story.
disbelieve ( dis+believe ) = not believe

2. He was discredited for his habit of telling lies.
discredit ( dis+credit ) = not trusted / not believed

3. He dismounted from the bike and embraced me.
dismount ( dis+mount ) = get off

4. The X-ray showed that his arm was dislocated.
dislocated ( dis+located ) = removed from proper place or position.  31 July 18


A row with your Editor is sure to land you in a ditch.

Natsikapia is the ditch in my case in consequence of a row with the Editor of daily Combat.

The rusty old Editor (bless his rotten soul) said Natsikapia was the rottenest place he could think of.

It is, indeed, the rottenest place anybody could think of.

It did not take me long to realize that Natsikapia is just the reverse of Pakistan in every sense of the word ‘reverse’. Unlike our Pakistanis, the Natsikapians are selfish, corrupt and bitterly unpatriotic. Their leaders, too, are fiends of the lowest order in comparison with ours who are angels lacking only wings. Politically, therefore, Natsikapia is a steaming cauldron of conflicting interests.

The most newsworthy development in Natsikapia is an ideological tug of war between the Federal Government and one of the Provincial Governments. Every morning the newspapers are bursting with spicy stuff like.

Federal Government ought to mind its own business— A provincial Minister— Provinces ought to know their limits— A Federal Minister— The Centre shall rue its attitude— A Provincial Minister— Dissenting provinces shall suffer for their obstinacy— A Federal Minister

Then there are interesting altercations in the form of two column quips:

“We’ll ameliorate the lot of the masses”, says one of the Federal Ministers.

“We’ll hang them”, retorts one of the Provincial Ministers. (The pronoun “them”, of course, refers to the Federal Government).

“Welfare of the people our first preference”, says one of the Provincial Ministers.

“We’ll blast them”, rejoins a Federal Ministers.

And so on, and so forth, the battle of wits goes on. The Federal Government appoints an officer to a key post. The Provincial Government suspends him and appoints another officer in his place. The Federal Government sacks him. The Provincial Government then re-employs him as an OSD in the same pay scale.

The people read the newspapers, raising their eyebrows, groaning and cursing the belligerents vehemently. Some of them just sigh and go about their business. Others start discussing the chances of this or that happening or not happening.

This morning I had an opportunity to talk things over with an officer of the Public Relations Department. He was standing near the big letter box outside the G.P.O., reading a newspaper and making faces that roused my interest.

“Things don’t seem to be going hunky-dory”, I said with an apologetic cough, looking at the newspaper over his shoulder.

“Hell”! he ejaculated with a start, and turned round to look at the source of this abrupt interruption. Satisfied by my appearance that I was a foreigner, he immediately started pouring his heart out to me:

“Things are crumbling to pieces, my friend”, he said with a heart-rending sigh. “Take my own Department for instance. It belongs to the Centre, you know. Now the Provincial Government, taking exception to some of our recent announcements, has given us notice to vacate all residential and office accommodation occupied by us in the province. The Federal Government, when apprised of the situation, said they had no funds to make alternative arrangements. It means they expect us to live and work on the footpath. Very inconvenient of course, but there is no alternative, you see,” he concluded with a bitter laugh, gave the letter box a resounding thump and walked away nursing his injured hand.

The waiter at my lunch table looked unusually preoccupied. There was something lacking in his affectionate motherly regard for me. He didn’t, for instance, insist on my taking more of the food and less of the salad. I was perplexed. Planning a cautions course of questioning I proceeded:

“Is your boss in?”

“Yes, sir”, he said briefly.

“May I see him?”

“I’m afraid you can’t, sir. He’s raving like hell.

“Raving! The good old proprietor! Sounds serious”.

“It is serious, sir. He’s closing down. Says he can’t run the establishment”.

“So that’s — well, I think I should try to talk him out of it.”

Leaving the waiter gloomily cleaning the table, I walked across the hall to the door marked ‘Proprietor’.

Heaven knows why, but the little old man has taken a liking to me, so I saw nothing wrong with my butting in without a warning.

“Mr. Malik,” he said forcing a melancholy smile, “Most welcome, sir. Particularly at this moment. Hang!”

“You don’t look well, sir” said I cautiously. “Overwork and all that, of course. But what’s this I hear about your closing down? I think….”

“So you know. Well, that’s it exactly. I am going to close down. What else can I  do, sir under the circumstances?”

“The circumstances!”

“Yes, the circumstances, drat them. I think you know what I mean; the dratted exchange of blows between the Centre and the Province.”

“Of course, I know all that. But what has that to do with your hotel?”

“A precious lot, my son. How could you run a hotel when the Centre cuts off your electric supply and the Province stops the water supply, not for any fault on your part, but in trying to fix up each other?”

Finding myself unable to say anything I just sighed, nodded sympathetically, shook hands with the puzzled old man and left the room.

Are we not lucky, dear Pakistanis, to have perfect peace, harmony and goodwill all around?

Oh, to be in Pakistan

Now that democracy is there!


“You’re a newsman, Hido?”

“Sort of”.

“And on good terms with your News Editor?”

“That badger! I wish I could donate him to a zoo?”

“Anybody in the newsroom you wouldn’t like to donate to a zoo?”

“Well, yes. There’s Aslam, and Khalid, and Shariq.”

“Just one would do. It’s not much. Just killing a tiny news story.”

“Killing a news item! Sounds thick. Let’s see what sort of news it is, anyway.”

“A nasty bit of news, to be sure. A resolution passed by the Municipal Corporation demanding immediate action against my boss.”

“Impossible, sweetie, killing it, I mean. We can’t kill official despatches. And, to make matters worse, the Mayor happens to be a cousin to the badger, So, you see. . . .”

“I don’t, and I won’t until I get that resolution withheld. You just pin me onto one of your cronies in the newsroom and I’ll see what I can do.”

I couldn’t refuse. Dido had promised to get me interviewed for the television and I was not eager to let the opportunity slip through my fingers. So I accompanied him to the newsroom and introduced him to Shariq.

Dido wasted no time in coming to the point. “Would you please let me see that M.C. resolution you received today?” he begged very politely.

Shariq pulled the document out of a tray and handed it to him.

Like a shot, Dido zoomed out of the room into the street and out of sight.

Shariq was stunned with amazement but I was stung with shame and annoyance. Like a second shot I blew out of the room and into the street but missed Dido just as a second shot would miss a first shot.

It took me full two hours of frantic nosing about to learn that the pursuit was a failure. In the meantime, as my footwork had brought me back to the office, I stumbled into the newsroom, crestfallen, tail-between-legs and stopped guiltily before Shariq’s desk.

It was my turn to be stunned with amazement, because Shariq looked happier than I had ever seen him.

“You look worried, child,” he chirped blithely.” Wonder what makes you look like something the cat had brought in. Cheer up, joy, for luck smiles on us two. We’ve had the nearest miss we ever had. Only five minutes ago the badger rang me up and bawled ‘kill that dratted resolution instantly’. I told him — not too awkwardly I hope — that a messenger from the Mayor had already reclaimed it.”

“Dido’s machination, to be sure,” I thought, and said so. “Only he could make such miracles happen. But this one surely beats anything. I felt I must, however, find out how he carried it out before I start smothering him with compliments.”

And luckily, I happened to stamp on his tail just as he was creeping into a café not far away. His explanation was hard to swallow but delicious.

“It was all so simple, Hido,” he said with that affectionate smile of an indulgent father explaining something knotty to a none-too-bright son. “Only two days ago, during one of my usual prowls in the Pak Tea House, my pocket cassette-recorder happened to catch something your News Editor would never like to be made public. He was sitting at the table to my right telling a couple of pals what he thought of the Chief Editor.”

“So you had the badger right under your thumb all the time you were cruising round corners like a thief with a cop at his heels. A bit odd, wasn’t it?”

“Not at all. I just couldn’t remember where the hell I’d dumped that cassette. It occurred to me only as I bumped into that dratted letter-box on the pavement before the GPO. I rushed straight back home, recovered the cassette, fitted it to the cassette player, rang up the News Editor, and held the receiver to the cassette player’s mike blaring away full blast. ‘Who the devil is that, playing that infernal trick?’ demanded the News ed. ‘Never mind the who, sir, I retorted. ‘Just get that M.C. resolution killed this instant and you will get the cassette tomorrow.’ ‘O.K. Blast you! I’ll do it. . . .’ And he sounded very busy dialling somebody in the newsroom.”

“And so you you’re going to give him the cassette tomorrow?”

“Only a duplicate, honey. I’ll keep the original just in case,” said Dido with that triumphant leer of a born blackmailer and went out.


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