🇺🇸 Learn English the Hard Way with “Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen”

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 “Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen”.

Study hard!

but I do object to being freckled like a pard

I disagree with you. You have to take a firm line with spots.

When I had doffed the sweater and flannels in which I had breakfasted

They seem to have them every hour on the hour these days, don’t they?

Then I came abaft of the protest march and found myself becalmed

‘I socked a cop.’ I could see why he was a bit emotional. Socking cops is a thing that should be done sparingly, if at all.

not a few of them had decided that animal cries were insufficient to meet the case and were saying it with bottles and brickbats

It must be rotten being a policeman on these occasions

And in due season I suggested a merger. But apparently I was not the type, and no business resulted.

Taught me a lesson, that did – viz. never to lose faith in your guardian angel

we had never been really close, he being a prominent figure at the Union, where I was told he made fiery far-to-the-left speeches

go off with a pair of binoculars and watch birds, a thing that has never appealed to me. I can’t see any percentage in it

The bottle-throwing had now reached the height of its fever

a well-nourished body, male, leaped in and took a seat beside me. Gave me a bit of a start

I was about to ask to | what I was indebted for the honour of this visit

Various rozzers came along, but they were looking for a man without a hat

and I remembered that he had always been an irritable chap, as who would not have been, having to | go through life with a name like Orlo

I took no umbrage, accordingly, if umbrage is the thing you take when people start ordering you about, making allowances for his state of mind

and she called him a Cossack and socked him. Then he arrested her, and I socked him.

‘Nice girl,’ I said, for there is never any harm in giving the old salve.

I think at this juncture I may have looked askance at him a bit

because I’m not any too keen on Communists

‘Packing?’ I said. ‘Are you going somewhere?’

‘Yes, to Somerset, to stay with friends of mine, the Briscoes.’

Oh, curses.

I was hoping I might come to you for a short visit.’

‘Well, sucks to you, young Bertie, you can’t.

I took a seat and was flitting idly through the pages of an Illustrated London News of the previous December

Seeing me, he drank me in for a while and then said ‘Hullo

he was accusing me of trying to get five quid out of him under false pretences. A groundless charge, I need scarcely say, self being as pure as the driven snow, if not purer

Delicate fellows, these native bearers, though you wouldn’t think so to look at them.

You shouldn’t listen to people, especially Plank. We were at school together. Barmy Plank we used to call him

I had stern work before me – viz. cadging an invitation from this aunt

He said the spots qua spots . . . Is it qua?

I spoke blithely, for this obviously made everything hotsytotsy

that she has gone to Liverpool for her annual holiday.’ Liverpool, egad!

no doubt all braced and refreshed from communing with his aunt

It was in jocund mood that I set forth.

The weather couldn’t have been better, blue skies and sunshine all over the place

but nobody likes to have spectres horsing around, and for a while my jocund mood became a bit blue about the edges (blue mood)

Plank is the last person I want in my neighbourhood.

but it is always well to get a second opinion. And by jove I found that he had goofed

I chirruped and twiddled my fingers, as is my custom on these occasions,

and it will tell you that | I am a thoroughly good egg in whom complete confidence can safely be placed

picking it up in my arms in order to tickle its stomach – when the welkin was split by a stentorian ‘Hi’

I didn’t like his tone, but then one often doesn’t like people’s tones.

‘Merely passing the time of day,’ I replied with a suavity that became me well

but I kept the min status quo, as the expression is.

he was glad to hear it, because bubonic plague was no joke, ask anyone.

knew it! I was right! I knew you were Briscoe’s hireling!

…and he had in his grasp now a stout stick, which, if it wasn’t a Zulu knob-kerrie, was unquestionably the next best thing.

‘I’d leave, if I were you.’ His advice struck me as good. I took it.

‘… imposed a substantial fine on Mr Cook for moving pigs without a permit.’ I nodded intelligently. I could see how this must have rankled

‘Rigid attention to training is essential.’ Well, he didn’t need to tell me that. An old hand like myself knows how vital rigid training is for success on the turf.

‘Why do you say Ha?’

‘Never mind.’

But I did mind.

I proposed to give the leg muscles a bit of time off, and if E. Jimpson Murgatroyd didn’t like it, let him eat cake

his asperity had been due to the fact that Vanessa had got into the wrong crowd in London

It appears that bad blood exists between Mr Cook and Colonel Briscoe.

will be a duel between Colonel Briscoe’s Simla and Mr Cook’s Potato Chip. All the other entries are negligible

Fortunately I am in a position to | elucidate the mystery, sir

One of the habitués with whom I fraternized at the Goose and Grasshopper chances to be an employee of Mr Cook

But for you I should have passed sleepless nights wondering what on earth Cook thought he was playing at.

He finds me clutching his cat, learns that I am on pally terms with his deadly rival the Colonel,

Not that there was anything about the new faces on the other side to give me the pip

Angelica, a very personable | wench with whom, had I not been so preoccupied, I should probably have fallen in love

In short, as pleasant a bunch | as you could wish to meet.

and severest critic, and when she rebukes a nephew she rebukes him good.

I said, he’ll have you in stitches. And what occurs? Quips? Sallies? Diverting anecdotes? No, sir. You sit there stupefying yourself with food

If that’s the way you carry on in London, no wonder you come out all over in spots. I’m surprised you can walk.

What you say is true. But I am not myself today.

A certain drowsiness had stolen over me

What I wanted was shade, and by great good fortune I came on a little turning leading to wooded country, just what I needed.

and I was afraid your snoring might frighten it away, so might I beg you to go easy on the sound effects

very sensitive to loud noises, and you were making yourself audible a mile off.

a haven where I would have peace perfect peace with loved ones far away, as the hymnbook says.

‘Expected what?’ I asked, hoping for footnotes

”Then why are you here?’ he demanded in a voice so fortissimo

Very entertaining woman, my Aunt Dahlia. Never a dull moment when she’s around.

This, as I had foreseen, had him stymied. Something of his belligerence left him

‘I came to ask you to do something for me.’

Anything I can.’

‘Did he recommend anything that would be good for you?’

‘As a matter of fact he did.’

How like him!

little knowing that she gave me a pain in the gizzard and that I would willingly have run a mile in tight shoes to avoid her.

Spode might talk airily – or is it glibly? – of buttering me over the lawn

he was probably on palsy-walsy terms with half the big shots

This frequently happens when two young hearts are sundered.

I saw that he was following the plot, and it never does, when you’re telling a story, to wander off into side issues.

A sharp ‘Lord-love-a-duck‘ escaped me, and I eyed him with reproach.

You didn’t think to say I was out?

while she, as I have indicated, was the pin-up girl to end all pin-up girls

I was even more thankful than before that she had given me the bum’s rush

but no, she went on looking puff-faced. No pleasing | some girls.

she said, and if her lip didn’t curl scornfully, I don’t know a scornfully curling lip when I see one.

Father is and always has been | a cross between Attila the Hun and a snapping-turtle.

She said, ‘Well, strike me pink!or words to that effect.

I had interfered with the police in the execution of their duty, if that’s how the script reads, thereby rendering myself liable to a sizeable sojourn in chokey, a little enthusiasm would not have been amiss.

I don’t call it much of an idea meeting at your cottage,’ he said.

‘Why not?’

‘We shall have you underfoot all the time.’

as so often happens when Sundered Heart A is feeling that the odds against his clicking with Sundered Heart B cannot

‘What don’t you understand?’ I said, adding ‘Comrade’, for there is never anything lost by being civil

And Miss Cook’s visit to my cottage had to be clandestine because her father watches her as closely as the paper on the wall.

if you wrote her a letter that Pop would intercept it, he being a man who would intercept a daughter’s letter at the drop of a hat

It sounded absolutely copper-bottomed to me, but he went on giving me the eye.

Any girl who takes you for a father figure ought to have her head examined.

I’m not so sure you are good old Bertie. More like a snake who goes about the place robbing men of the women they love, if you ask me.

and that he would be at the starting post at three pip-emma on the morrow.

‘How did he look?’ she asked, all eagerness.

Jeeves came shimmering in shortly after she had left. He seemed a shade perturbed.

and I agreed with him that he had tetigisti-ed the rem acu. (игра слов)

Haven’t you gone yet?‘ I considered this a shade brusque, even for a proud beauty, but, true to my resolve to be preux, I responded suavely: ‘Just going.’

Well, go,‘ she said, and I went.

‘She specified that?’

‘Yes, sir.’

To which he replied?

‘May I marshal my thoughts, sir?’

‘Certainly. Marshal them all you want.’

‘Cat? What cat?’

‘The one you met at Eggesford Court, with which the horse Potato Chip formed such a durable friendship. Miss Cook was urging Mr Porter to purloin it.’

At five minutes to three on the following afternoon I had girded my loins

and the eye detected a dog which had interested itself in something it had found in the gutter, but otherwise it was empty

but I assumed that it was full of Nihilists who were always meeting other Nihilists and plotting dark plots with them

I like to think of myself as a polished man of the world who can kid back and forth with a pretty girl as well as the next chap,

the sort of thing you haven’t a hope of making sense of if you aren’t a unit of The Uncanny Seven in good standing with all your dues paid up.

And after a few desultory exchanges I left them and resumed my walk

‘Has he brought it yet?’, I mean to say. Has who? Brought what?

‘In the meantime, pigeon-holing that for the moment, did Miss Cook and Mr Porter have their conference all right?’

At the end of that period he resumed his blow-by- blow report of the dust-up between Vanessa Cook and O. J. Porter

If you recall, it too dug in its feet and refused to play ball.’

She accused Mr Porter of being a lily-livered | poltroon, and said that she never wished to speak to him again

and it would have jarred me to the soles of my socks if I had had to marry Vanessa Cook

it would do Vanessa all the good in the world to find that she had come up against someone she couldn’t say ‘Go’ to and he goeth, as the fellow said

I had suffered so much in the past from girls of Angelica’s age starting something – Stiffy Byng is a name that springs to the mind

She bore traces of the recent set-to.

Her rejection of my addresses at the time when I proposed to her had been so definite that it had seemed to me that all danger from that quarter had passed

Certainly she had given no indication that she would not prefer to be dead in a ditch rather than married to me. And now this.

I know very little of you, true, but anyone the mention of whose name can make Father swallow his lunch the wrong way cannot be wholly bad.

My impulse was to tell her Tolstoy was off his onion, but I choked down the heated words

‘Brought what?’

‘The cat, of course, you poor dumb-bell,

‘It would take you ten minutes. You could go in the car.’

‘I fear that I must continue to plead a nolle prosequi, sir.’

I am not, I think, an irascible man, particularly in my dealings with the gentler sex

it is the discovery that a loved aunt is all foggy about the difference between right

I won’t say that she omitted no detail however slight, but she certainly didn’t condense.

He said he was a snip and putting a large bet on him would be like finding money in the street.

I wagered everything I possessed, down to my more intimate garments.

It was only after I got here and canvassed local opinion that I realized that Simla was not a snip or anything like a snip

In fact, the thing would probably end in a dead-heat unless, get this, Bertie, unless one of the two animals blew up in its training.

When the aged relative collars the conversation, she collars it.

There was justice in this. I believe the old relative was sylphlike in her youth, but the years have brought with them a certain solidity

All the gamekeepers for miles around have been trying for years to catch him with the goods, but they haven’t a hope

It is estimated that seventy-six point eight per cent of the beer sold in the Goose and Grasshopper is bought by haggard gamekeepers trying to drown their sorrows after being baffled by Billy. I have this on the authority of Angelica, who is a great buddy of his

I went on being appalled. Her scheme of engaging the services of a hired bravo who would probably blackmail her for the rest of her life shook me to the core.

As for Angelica Briscoe, one asked oneself what clergymen’s daughters were coming to.

You can’t do this, old blood relation. It’s as bad as nobbling a horse.

If you think that caused the blush of shame to mantle her cheek, you don’t know much about aunts

Three encores, and so many bows that I got a crick in the back

You mean her name would become a hissing and a byword?

Try as I would I couldn’t seem to hit on a method of getting the cat back to square one which didn’t involve a meeting with Pop Cook and his hunting crop

‘What was that?’ I had heard it, too, of course. But I preserved my poise.

‘Plank heard those yowls.’

‘I am extremely sorry, sir.’

Not your fault. Cats will be cats.’

‘Good afternoon, sir,’ he said, ‘you wished to see me?’ I got down without delay to the nub.

but who knew that, finding itself in unfamiliar surroundings and missing its pal Potato Chip, it would not utter ayowl | or two?

the ghost of a fellow called Banquo, whom he has recently murdered, crashes the gate all covered with blood. Macbeth took it big

the meeting to which he referred had been one | fraught with embarrassment for me, and I would have preferred to let the dead past bury its dead | as the fellow said.

They used to come flocking round the camp in dozens, and were as sick as mud when they found it was only a native bearer.

You’d never think, to look at him now, that when I knew him as a boy he was about the best wing-three we ever had at Haileybury

Wouldn’t you swear that was a cat? That man of yours certainly makes it lifelike.

A gift, I’d call it. Good animal-impersonators don’t grow on every bush.

I fear you will have thought me remiss, sir, but I found it impossible to stifle the animal’s cries completely

from whom you saved me so adroitly at Totleigh-in-the- Wold.

He is closely allied to Pop Cook, and I don’t mind telling you that when he blew in I was as badly rattled as Macbeth

His comment on my obiter dicta was brief and to the point.

Nothing could ever make Jeeves say ‘Gorblimey!’, but I could see that was the word that would have sprung to his lips if he hadn’t stopped it halfway

have seen more raffish Cabinet ministers. He looked like someone who might have sung in the sainted Briscoe’s church choir

and he had the lissomness which is such an asset in his chosen profession

Plainly that stuff about personal favours to sweet children had been the merest bobbledy-gook. He had been actuated throughout entirely by commercial motives.

It would have to be a ready-money transaction, he being the shrewd man he was

‘He is staying with Cook at Eggesford Court.’

‘So what?’

So jolly well this. He dropped in on me shortly after Billy Graham had clocked in and left the cat.’

‘… and just now she blew in and said she had changed her mind and would marry me. Came as a nasty shock.

‘You should have told her to go and boil her head.’

But that’s what happens when you’re up against it and the other fellow holds all the cards

And I had read enough to make me wish I had taken out The Mystery Of A Hansom Cab instead

You can never be certain what aunts will do when at close quarters.

Hell’s bells! Ye gods! Angels and ministers of grace defend us!

I used to send you parcels of food at enormous expense because you said you were about to expire from starvation

become of the old-fashioned nephew to whom his aunt’s wishes were law? They don’t seem to be making them nowadays.

Your view of my behaviour with the above cat is all cockeyed

because I felt that such an action stained the escutcheon of the Woosters

I told Plank that the cat he heard was not a cat but Jeeves imitating cats, and he believed it all right because explorers are simple-minded bozos who believe everything they’re told

She was silent for a space

Musing, no doubt, and weighing this against that

My whole plan of campaign has gone phut.

I won’t believe you’re married till I see the bishop and assistant clergy mopping their foreheads and saying, “Well, that’s that. We’ve really got the young blighter off at last.’

I had squared myself with the old flesh-and-blood and so had put a stopper on her wrath

‘I am sorry to hear that, sir.’

You’ll be sorrier when I explain further.

‘My aunt returned this morning and is at her home in the village.’

‘Then go to her, Jeeves, and heaven smile upon your reunion

‘Well? You accomplished your mission? The cat is back at the old stand?’ His eyes darkened, as if I had brought to the surface a secret sorrow.

Well, yes and no, sir.’

As always when I tell him I’m engaged to be married, he betrayed no emotion

and will have no difficulty in making her husband jump through hoops and snap sugar off his nose.

Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis.

The way things are shaping I haven’t anything to laugh about.

The belief that I’m a Grade A snake in the grass

No, we have got to be frightfully subtle and think of some plan for drawing his fangs. Otherwise my insides won’t be worth a moment’s purchase

drawing his attention to the inevitable displeasure of his employers if through him they were mulcted in a substantial sum of money

The situation has been changed by your becoming affianced to the woman he loves

A gentleman mellowed by a good dinner is always more amenable to overtures of any kind than one who is waiting for his food

I disbursed the tenner. Not blithely, but I disbursed it, and he went on his way

For some little time after he had left I sat wrapped in thought

‘To Vanessa, the fairest of the fair, from a devoted admirer,’ he had written, dishing my plans completely.

I gulped | as Plank’s native bearer must have done when they were getting ready to bury him before sundown

Roaming through Africa knee-deep in poisonous snakes of every description and with more man-eating pumas around than you could shake a stick at, he could so easily have passed away, regretted by all.

He was staring at the opening page with its inscription, and I knew that words would be wasted, as the expression is.

there was a grandfather clock over against the wall, and he now arranged that Cook should bump into this and come a purler.

‘I felt I was behaving like a louse.’

You are a louse.’

‘Teach you not to nobble horses.’

‘Yes, there’s that, I suppose.’

the coming interview in a bumps-a-daisy spirit which might quite easily have led to my bursting into song

He was impressed, as who would not have been.

and the dullest ear could have spotted that she was in something of a doodah

There are too many people around with scruples and high principles and all that sort of guff.

A nephew with a lust for gold and lacking the Wooster play-the-game spirit might quite well have done as she said

I could see that it behooved me, if behooved is the word I want, to watch my step with the utmost vigilance.

In a purely friendly spirit. It springs on everyone. It’s its way of being matey.

In addition to having a song in it my heart ought of course to have been bleeding for Orlo

‘This comes as a surprise?’

You could knock me down with a ham sandwich.’

which would mean upsetting the latter’s gastric juices for one didn’t know how long

She was taking a stroll preparatory to going to bed and bedewing her pillow with salt tears

She compared me with heroes of old Greek legend, to their disadvantage

With the best intentions in the world they ramble and embroider.

My Aunt Dahlia had blotted the sunshine from my life in the matter of the cat.

It was a dilemma which might well have baffled a lesser man

‘Better gag him. We don’t want him yelling for help.’

‘My dear Plank, you think of everything.

‘Am I right, Jeeves?’

Indubitably, sir.’

putting visitors at their ease with debonair smiles and courteous wisecracks, but I am compelled to admit that at the sight of these two I didn’t come within a mile of doing so…

What is all this song and dance about daughters?

‘Trying to brazen it out,’ said Plank. ‘I told you he would.’

Pfui,’ I said. It is an expression I don’t often use, but Nero Wolfe is always saying it with excellent results, and it seemed to fit in rather well here

his destination presumably Bongo on the Congo or somewhere similar where the arm of the law couldn’t touch him.

I danced a carefree dance step. I know a happy ending when I see one.

‘And you are in favour of bearding Pop Cook?’

But this aspect of the matter ceased to enchain my interest

I felt it served the old blighter jolly well right

She cannot distinguish between what is according to Hoyle and what is not according to Hoyle.

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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