🇺🇸 Learn English the Hard Way with “While Mortals Sleep”

Chances are you are looking for improving your English language comprehension through reading books.

I know the drill. Take me right to the sentences.

Feel like upping your game and start catching the slightest subtleties of English?

Look no further.

However, there is a catch.


Who is this article intended for?

For English language learners, as they, all too often, tend to skip a lot of subtleties while reading books / reading stories / reading comics / watching movies /watching game movies, thus slowing down and negating their language progress. I

The catch has to do with the “THE HARD WAY” of learning English, right?

I can’t promise improving your English through this article will be easy, but I promise it will be worth it, provided you work through ALL THE SENTENCES down below. And by the way, to make it even more challenging for you, no answers are given and you are to find them on your own. There’s a reason this article is called “Learn English the Hard Way”, don’t you think?

Still no clue what I’m supposed to do…

If you’re still not really sure what’s going on here, I highly recommend you read the description of “Learn English the Hard Way” challenge.

russia-flag Для чего эта статья и что нужно здесь делать?

По своему опыту могу сказать, что когда в освоении английского приходишь на всё готовенькое, то интеллектуально расслабляешься и не особо вникаешь в детали и тонкости языка.

А вот когда, мы “пропускаем язык через себя”…

  1. внимательное чтение книг, просмотр фильмов, т.д… не знаем, что то или то означает, почему так написано, вообще не догоняем, что происходит, значит отмечаем находку
  2. анализ “любопытных” предложений, конструкций, выражений (грамматика и прагматика наши лучшие друзья)
  3. прогонка проработанного материала через правое полушарие
  4. задействование “освоенных” предложений, конструкций, выражений на письме, в устной речи (идеально, с носителями языка)
    …то результаты будут совершенно иными, нежели чем “со всем готовеньким”.

А именно, выработка силы воли, языковой интуиции, внимательности, любопытства и реальное улучшение навыка английского языка.

Ниже представлены предложения, которые заинтриговали меня при прочтении книги / прочтении рассказа / прочтении комикса / просмотре фильма / просмотре игрофильма. То есть, я сделал первый пункт из четырех выше и поделился результатами с Вами. За Вами остаются остальные три.


If you feel like up to the challenge, then below is my list of the cherry-picked sentences with curious grammar and vocabulary findings from the book “While Mortals Sleep”.

Study hard!

to get attention on the internet (and on television, for that matter), a commentator, more often than not, has to be loud, radical, or insane. And so the vast majority of such commentary is all three.

the misguided notion that there is one miraculous form that obviates all others—in such an environment

then you’ve got some credit in the moral-authority bank.

realistic choices, and the outcomes are plausible and perhaps even pedestrian.

That being a decent person is an achievable and desirable thing.

and built Jenny back when he’d been a real comer in the GHA Research Laboratory.

When I heard about George’s big paycheck and his free way of life and the way he made people laugh and buy appliances, why I guessed he was the happiest man in the company.

I asked him if he knew where Jenny and George were. He laughed to beat the band and said he sure did.

She shut her eyes so she wouldn’t have to look at such a terrible person. And then, as God is my judge, she squeezed out two fat tears

An audience is the nuttiest thing there is, if you ever stop to think about it.

He was sore about being wrong, and his big ambition was to bust up the act with truth—Truth with a capital T

Haven’t heard from her for twenty years,” George said. “I can go another twenty without hearing from her, and feel no pain. Thanks just the same.” He stared through the windshield again.

The crowd shuffled away, their day off to a very depressing start

We made seven hundred miles in sixteen hours, and I don’t believe George said ten words to me the whole time.

Working with him in the laboratory, I was forced to listen eight hours a day to tripe about love.

Love made the world go round!

I was the footloose bachelor who didn’t have much of a future in research anyway.

“Maybe they’ll take me back in the Research Laboratory. I’ll ask anyway—hat in hand.”

The general population and the press, long inured to a world gone mad

It was the life insurance companies that noticed first what was going on, and well they might have.

He was a humorless, emaciated, ambitious young man

The previous president, who had been kicked upstairs to chairmanship of the board of directors

The old man said all this with sad, plonking irony. “Insurance is a wonderful thing,”

“We’re quite open to suggestion—almost pathetically so.”

That poor little kid is going to have to fight every inch of the way!

Q:  What is Verne Petrie to you?

A:  Verne Petrie to me is what is wrong with the world.

I mean, anybody likes to look at pin-up pictures off and on, but Verne, he has to buy armloads of them. He spends a fortune on them

Put her on, would you please

“That’s a part of my life I’ve blotted out completely. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t care less.”

I knocked Verne Petrie colder than a mackerel

I stand ready, of course, to pay his hospital bill.

I missed your name,” said Charley.

“Nancy,” said Nancy.

One small beer was enough to start Charley on a toot that could last for weeks.

They had been boozing buddies years before.

They had sworn off booze at the same time, had gone to their first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous together

“Prosit, skoal, and mud in your eye,” he said

“… but I don’t think they spend ten seconds a year trying to see things from a man’s point of view.”

I hear you talking, Hotbox.”

“Earl, we haven’t got anything much in the house for supper,” said Ella desolately.

“Sandwiches, soup, cheese—anything at all,” said Earl. “Don’t knock yourself out on our account.”

“Coming,” said Earl. “On my way. Be there in two shakes.”

Old Spitfire’s smashed up, but what do they care? Women.

What do they want now—to enter the men’s shot put?

Be a sport,” said his mother. “Take her out, Earl.”

I don’t know where the world would be without trains.

Anyway, she’s nuts about the pike now. She understands. We had a whale of a time down here, this afternoon.

Gets something in her head, and the next thing you know, bing, she’s gone ahead and done it. Any crazy darn thing. No holding her.

worldly women made up like showgirls, moon-faced matrons, and erect and self-sufficient spinsters, like Miss Hostetter.

Isn’t anything I don’t know about silicones after six months in this bughouse.

I understand that some of the girls in the Wire and Cable Department got each other so upset about this man they had to be sent home. That isn’t going to happen here. The girls in the girl pool are a cut above that.

If he’s got your purse, lady, which he doesn’t, we’ll have it back in jig time.

a nice young man is looking for a nice young woman like you, and tomorrow’s another day.

“Can I buy you another one?”

She wants to know if she can buy me another one,” quavered Mrs. Faulkner

“Ted is dead,” said Ruth incredulously.

That’s just it,” said Mrs. Faulkner impatiently.

on the edge of a sofa covered with slippery chintz.

Resignedly, Ruth held out the objects to her, cupped in her hands.

Ruth drove the air from her lungs with pent-up exasperation.

“Good morning, Miss Hurley.” Ruth blinked up at Ted’s mother.

I guess, if I had my choice, I’d like Florida best.

When she bought her ticket, checked her baggage through, and settled on a hard bench to read away the dead minutes

She took no notice, busily upbraiding in her mind the insensitive men and women in the railroad station

“Hackleman,” he said, “every man on this staff is not only a newspaper man, he’s an active citizen.”

“I vote,” said Hackleman. “I pay my taxes.”

And there it stops,” said the publisher reproachfully.

I haven’t got time,” said Hackleman sullenly.

Make the time.”

Hackleman suddenly changed stations to fill the car with the clangor of a jazz band.

Wha’d you do that for?” I said.

“There’s nothing in the Bible to tell you. Not a word.”

You’re the last man I’d come to for an expert opinion on the Bible,”


Who the hell asked you to be sorry?

“Mad Dog Gribbon has been out for a year, and I didn’t know it?” said Hackleman.

Don’t look at me,” I said. “I cover the School Board and the Fire Department.”

“Anything else in town that can touch it?” he panted proudly.

“Nope,” said Hackleman bleakly.

“Think it’ll win?”


As nearly as I could tell, he and the Spirit of Christmas had as little in common as a farm cat and the Audubon Society.

It’s to you, the working stiffs, that the honors really belong.

As a dutiful assistant publicity director, I boned up on the history of the event, and learned that the contest had been held every year

Nobody asks you to spend eighteen hours a day in the office. That’s your idea.

and I’m not a family man, and eggnog gives me gastritis, so the hell with Christmas.

They sell Christmas the way they sell cigarettes—just keep hammering away at the same old line over and over again. I’ve got Christmas coming out of my ears.

It was midnight and Hackleman and I stamped our feet and blew on our hands to keep warm,

Realistically, the searchers didn’t have much of a chance

Ed had left her plenty of money, so she wasn’t goaded into doing anything more

They just change husbands as often as they please, and one’s as good as another one.

“Lots of nice people tango,” I said. He clenched and unclenched his hands.

“Cheap, asinine, grotesque!”

“To the Pisquontuit Yacht Club?”

That’s the one,” said Marie.

“I guess you’ll be getting married, eh?”

“Looks that way. I’ll have to find another job.”

“Count your blessings,” he said. “Here, but for the grace of God, lie you.”

After us the deluge,” I said, loading the record changer

Do you think, for all your charms, he’d dance one step with you at the Yacht Club? In a pig’s eye

“What she’s asking, Robert,” I said helpfully, “is, are you a man or a mouse?”

This will eat into him for years, and there’s a good chance he’ll become the first rounded human being in Pisquontuit history

You beat on the door like the world’s coming to an end, and now you say never mind. Are you drunk?

“Twenty-five!” said Carmody incredulously.

“Coffee’s done went up a nickel,” said the waitress.

“He’s left Buenos Aires. It got damp.”

Mercy me—damp!” said Miss Daily with bitter sarcasm. “It’s more than a body can put up with!”

“You’re stopping off to see me, your old college buddy, on your way from Monte Carlo to Catalina. Got it?”

Check,” said Broom. “Listen, she isn’t going to take a swat at me or anything, is she?”

decorating the office for holidays, and collecting limericks, which he kept in a locked file in his desk.

Carmody had been lonely and a little sour, as wave after wave of enterprising young men passed him on the ladder of success

But Bomar’s splendid name had caught Sterling’s fancy

If I were a man, I’d go to wherever Bomar was, push his stuck-up old butler aside, and give him the thrashing of his life.

and wore an insolent sneer that seemed to invite all the world to slap his fat face.

George recognized it a split second before the two men started beating the stuffing out of him

A whanging headache was coming on.

a couple of ankles broken, a couple of ribs, two big shiners

“I was kidding, Nicky.”

Pardon me if I don’t laugh. People who sell bolts and nuts and locomotives and frozen orange juice make billions”

“… why don’t I get a job.”

I was going to be diplomatic about it. Not give up voice, understand, but pick up a little cash”

“You sounded happy enough back there by the light.”

Laugh, clown, laugh.”

He was better. You can’t imagine.

while you’re studying with Gino, while you’re getting ready for the big push.

I’ve seen it happen more times than I like to think about.

here I thought you knew me better than anybody else on earth, next to my mother, and you say a thing like that!

I’m in hock for my car, the new house, and the baby. If turkey was five cents a pound, I couldn’t buy the beak.

Machines make the doughnuts; you buy the mix in bags, and sit around making change.

The owner’s been making ten G’s

You’re the kind that’d love it—watching the competition, figuring new angles, new lines, new come-ons, all that nonsense

You’re a ball of fire in business. A natural!

“What would you like to drink?” He had an amiable edge on.

“But in the springtime it gets me, and there’s nothing to do but quietly tie one on.”

The girl with the million-dollar alcohol rubs. What’s her name? Rose? Rose something?

Rose is just a plain, dumpy little nurse, who still doesn’t know what hit her

It did—and I don’t mean once; I mean hundreds of times.

You picked a lousy time to come in. I was looking around for something to hit.

Why, hell—Rose is probably the salt of the earth

Ben’s world yawed, shimmered, and righted itself. “You?” he said softly.

It niggled and nagged and carped and whined at him, as full of fears and bitterness as a spinster witch.

Give it an inch,” said Ben, “and it’ll take a mile.”

What about the clipping?” said Sylvia.

You know what about the clipping,” said Cornelia.

Every night he did a demonstration painting on an easel in front of his studio

65.00, frame included. Ask about our lay-away plan.

Plainly, only a cataclysm of the first magnitude could have loosened her tongue.

“Some high art muckety-muck from the paper says in the paper tonight that my husband’s some kind of a humbug.” Now the tears came. “There’s a nice birthday present for a man who’s given his whole life to art,”

She had been a pert, uncomplicated waitress when Lazarro had wooed her.

About how we’re having out about who’s the real artist?

Wow, it seems you’ve made it to the end of this new-vocabulary-grammar-intensive article… But did you actually work through all the findings?  No shirking? Sweet! That’s what I call being persistent at mastering English!


russia-flag Вы дочитали и проработали статью до конца? Так держать!

Если Вы дочитали до конца эту статью, то я уверен, что Вы узнали много нового про английский язык (при условии, что Вы действительно проработали предложения выше).

Проработать так много материала это совсем не шутки, а вполне серьёзный подход к делу.

Теперь же дело за малым: эффективно всё перенести в речевой актив и начать всласть применять новые знания на практике (пункт 3 и 4, соответсвенно).

Спасибо за то, что уделили время.

Удачи в Вашем языковом путешествии!


I am crazy enough to do the whole nine-yards over again. Please bring me to the beginning of the sentences. Yeah!

Did you know that you are more than encouraged to go ahead and tell me in the comments section below how the whole process went?

With that, thanks for taking your time accepting the challenge, reading and working through the article.

Until next time!


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