🇺🇸 Learn English the Hard Way with “Slapstick, or Lonesome No More!”

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 “Slapstick, or Lonesome No More!”.

Study hard!

He was about to turn sixty. I was fifty-two. We were certainly no spring chickens.

the only train in American railroading history to hurl itself off an open drawbridge. Think of that.

because it is grotesque, situational poetry—like the slapstick film comedies, especially those of Laurel and Hardy, of long ago.

They never failed to bargain in good faith with their destinies, and were screamingly adorable and funny on that account.

of clouds as snow or rain. His laboratory was a sensational mess

he saw this jungle of deadfalls and snares and hair-trigger booby traps

He bawled out my brother.

If you think this laboratory is bad, you should see what it’s like in here.

Our parents and grandparents, after all, had grown up there with shoals of siblings and cousins and uncles and aunts.

It was just another someplace where automobiles lived, with a symphony orchestra and all.

We laughed again, but I think the joke was partly lost on my brother.

The pavement on the floor of the jungle is all crinkum-crankum-heaved this way and that by frost-heaves and roots.

blue-eyed, lantern-jawed old white man

The three of us have the building all to ourselves.

She is built like a fireplug.

They also found a gross of ball-point pens.

They are hydraulic experiences—the results of confused plumbing, and little more.

When I do not ask them questions, they are as happy as clams.

We were supposed to have no intelligence, and to die before we were fourteen. But I am still alive and kicking, thank you.

We had supernumerary nipples as well—two of them apiece.

And I cannot fault them for being shattered by having given birth to monsters.

And Caleb and Letitia were at least as good at parenting as I was, when my turn rolled around.

We were no more true relatives of theirs, their advisors said, than baby crocodiles.

They entombed us instead in a spooky old mansion which they had inherited

Yes, and it was easy for our parents to buy the fealty of these living fossils from the family past

They hoped with all their hearts that we would become toilet-trained

We did not itch to display our intelligence in public.

And we may have been right at that. You know?

there must have been days of light gravity in olden times, when people could play tiddledy winks with huge chunks of stone.

Eliza and I pointed out that this happened no less in democracies than in tyrannies, since human beings were the same the wide world over

Even as little children we knew we weren’t ever going to win any beauty contests

the perfect Lulu of a secret that was concealed from Eliza and me so long

We could not believe our good fortune.

But we suddenly stopped, pretending, as always, to have been rendered catatonic by more happiness than was good for us.

she replied emptily that she supposed that the Chinese could accomplish just about anything they put their minds to.

The Chinese themselves volunteered no details.

I did admire her unwavering decency toward one and all.

She was not a mistress of insults.

We needed a mother’s and father’s love about as much as a fish needs a bicycle, as the saying goes.

Oveta remained transfixed. I at last had to snap my fingers under her nose to wake her up.

But our genius, like all geniuses, suffered periodic fits of monumental naïveté. It did so now.

furniture and theater seats, too, and all manner of junk.

They grow their own tomatoes and potatoes, and radishes, and little more.

When they studied us organ by organ and body fluid by body fluid, we were masterpieces of health.

One of them, I remember, said to me that it must be fun to be so tall. “What’s the weather up there like?” he said, and so on.

That early in the game, though, we had our first disturbing tastes of separation

“Have you any idea what that’s like?”

“No,” said Eliza.

Of course not,

Because money talks, little Lord Fauntleroy.

And wouldn’t you like to have an encyclopaedia in the room with you, too, and maybe the faculty of Harvard University, to tell you the answers, in case you’re not sure?”

That would be nice,” we said.

She became a tower of irony.

Paddle your own canoe

His prospects for a happy and useful life in a rural area are fair to good.

“And the boy is the smarter of the two?”

To the extent he can read and write,”

But we had sense enough to know that our power to eavesdrop at will was one of the few advantages we had.

Her saying this so jovially was a tactical mistake on her part, for it caused something in Mother to snap.

The atmosphere in the room became electrified as Mother stopped being a weak and polite and credulous doll.

But she had clearly become subhuman in the finest sense.

She jeered at Eliza’s and my request.

growl, she called Dr. Cordiner an “overdressed little sparrow-fart.”

“Astronomy is to geology as steeplejack is to what?”

It was embarrassing, and should have been, of course.

My God—was that poor girl ever a mess!

“Why?” she said.

“Normie is the only family I have.”

Now, now—” I said

“I was just some kind of tumor that had to be removed from your side.” • • •

I never said that,” I said.

For form’s sake, I made a tentative gesture as though I might touch her.

This is getting us nowhere,” I said.

She looped a great arm over the shoulders of Norman Mushari, Jr. “Here’s who knows how to help people,” she said.

but we’re going to sue the piss out of your relatives anyway

I noted that I had a cast-iron character which would repel attacks

And now, without my realizing it, the shell of my character stood before her

I will not be the best doctor there ever was

You don’t have a heart condition, do you Wilbur?

The diningroom carpet was somewhat piebald

The publisher thought up the title, which was So You Went and Had a Baby.

I was told by our go-between, Norman Mushari, Jr., that Eliza was even more shattered by the orgy than I had been.

I was also giddy with champagne.

a two-meter Neanderthaler in a ruffled shirt and a robin’s-egg blue velvet tuxedo.

She told me again who he was. I expressed pro forma regrets at not having spent more time with him

“‘If you can do no good, at least do no harm.’ Hippocrates.”

I woke up one morning to find that I was almost fifty years old!

Yes, and, coked to the ears on tri-benzo-Deportamil, I fetched all our papers from the mausoleum.

They excluded children and old people and housewives, and losers of every description.

but I lolled in the chair like a drunken English squire from olden times.

why don’t you take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut?

The young people are being so companionable with me because my birthday is only two days away now. What fun!

There is nothing they love more than a birthday!

He had come out of the steamy depths to tell me ever-so-bravely that he, too, was a Daffodil-11.

“I hate them,” she said.

“Go ahead,” I said. “There’s very little harm in that, as far as I know.”

“You are insane,” she said.

“Very likely,” I replied.

“But it will not be an hallucination when I see those people outside the fence find each other, if no one else.”

It was inevitable what those buttons said, to wit:

Sophie smouldered about it for several weeks

I was not the sort of lumber out of which happy marriages were made.

The Peanuts really did seem to be a ground-hugging bunch.

As the new families began to investigate themselves, some statistical freaks were found.

There were dozens of such raffish establishments in Chicago, I had heard.

he said, and he went to his reward, as the saying goes.

“We never was big for them new-fangled middle names,” he said.

We would leave Carlos there, to be cared for by his artificial relatives during his sunset years.

“I tried to tell ’em that slavery wasn’t for everybody,” she said.

“‘Take no thought for the morrow,’” I told her, “‘for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.’”

It was a Daffodil town. You weren’t anything if you weren’t a Daffodil.

She was a menace only to herself, so nobody was particularly mad at her.

As it was, there were notetakers there, whom the King called his “scribes.”

heavily medicated and vaguely beloved in the long ago

But, also, I had had more than enough of the low comedy of living by then.

Enjoy it in good health!” I said.

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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