English for everyone

When in Britain

When in Britain

When in Britain

Visitors to Britain are often surprised by the strange behaviour of its inhabitants. The British like forming queues. They queue up when waiting for a bus, theatre tickets, in shops… A well-known writer George Mikes, a Hungarian by birth, joked: ‘An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one’.
So one of the worst mistakes is to get on a bus without waiting your turn. The British are very sensitive to such behaviour and they may get really annoyed with queue-jumpers -people who don’t wait their turn in the queue.
Drivers in cars can become quite aggressive if they think you are jumping the queue in a traffic jam. Newspapers often publish angry articles about people who pay money to bypass a hospital waiting list in order to get an operation more quickly.
The British, especially the English, are more reserved than the people of many other countries. They don’t like to show their emotions. They usually don’t easily get into conversation with strangers. They don’t like personal questions (for example, how much money they earn or about their family life). They take more time to make friends. They would like to know you better before they ask you home. So don’t be upset if your English friends don’t invite you home. It doesn’t mean they don’t like you!
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Betrayal by C. Fremlin


Maisie Allen’s lips stretched in a tight little smile of satisfaction as she surveyed the poky suburban house with its prim lace curtains. So this was what Mark had come to after thirty years! The godlike Mark had come to this in the end!
It was the end, of course. The unspecified female relative who had written to Maisie in a crabbed and elderly hand had made that perfectly clear. Mark had at most a few more months to live, and he wanted to see his old friend Maisie Allen before he died; that was the gist of the letter which Maisie now fingered almost lovingly with her tight black glove.
The triumph of it! Mark, who had once thought that he owned the world, that he owned Maisie and could demand of her anything he liked: Mark, who now lay dying in this squalid street with only some aged cousin to look after him. Not even a wife or a family to show for all that proud young strength! A little secret smile hovered round Maisie’s mouth as she rang the bell.
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When in Rome do as the Romans do


One wise man said that no man should travel until he has learned the language of the country he visits. True, isn’t it? However, we sometimes realise, to our great astonishment, that the knowledge of the language is not enough. Every country has its customs. Different nations can behave differently in the same situations. Let’s be polite travellers. Let’s respect the customs of the country we are in. Let’s not forget the proverb: “When in Rome do as the Romans do.»
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If you are learning English

English Language of Communication

English Language of Communication

(What experts think about it)
(By G. Mikes)
When I arrived in England I thought I knew English. After I’d been here an hour I realised that I did not understand one word. In the first week I picked up a tolerable working knowledge of the language and the next seven years convinced me gradually but thoroughly that I would never know it really well, let alone perfectly. This is sad. My only consolation being that nobody speaks English perfectly.
Remember that those five hundred words an average Englishman uses are far from being the whole vocabulary of the language. You may learn another five hundred and another five thousand and yet another fifty thousand and still you may come across a further fifty thousand you have never heard of before, and nobody else either.
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Never Trust a Lady

never trust a lady

Victor Canning (1911—1986) is a British crime and mystery writer who is famous for his spy and espionage thrillers. Canning wrote more than 50 novels and a number of short stories. Among his best works are “Panthers’ Moon”, “The Golden Salamander”, «The Whip Hand”, “Vanishing Point”, “The Boy on Platform One ”. His stories are full of excitement, suspence and humour.

Never Trust a Lady
Everyone thought that Horace Demby was a good, honest citizen. He was about fifty and unmarried, and he lived with a housekeeper who worried over his health. Actually, he was usually very well and happy except for attacks of hay fever in the summer time. He made locks and was successful enough at his business to have two helpers. Yes, Horace Demby was good and respectable — but not completely honest.
Fifteen years ago Horace had served his first and only time in prison for stealing jewels. Horace didn’t want to become honest; he only wanted to make sure that his dishonesty never got him into trouble again.
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True or False Stories

True Stories

1. A sensational discovery has been made by two American scientists. They have found the lost personal diaries of Queen Isabella of Spain, of Lolumbus and of Montezuma. We can now recreate in detail the most important conversation between the main historical figures involved in the discovery of America.

2. In old times, animals, like people, were tried before a judge. Yes, cattle horses were sometimes hanged for their crimes. On September 5, 1379, a village swineherd in France left his young son in charge of the herd. The boy, like many other naughty children, teased the baby pigs. Naturally enough, the piglets began to squeal. Three grown-up pigs attacked the boy and killed him. Three days later, these three pigs were duly tried and executed. The Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Bold, pronounced the sentence. Before sentencing them to death, the judge considered the case of the swineherd’s other pigs. The prosecutor wanted to punish all the pigs as accomplices. The other pigs, however, were given a warning and sent home.
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All Fools Day

All Fools Day
The first of April, some do say,
Is set apart for All Fool’s Day.
But why the people call it so
Nor I nor they themselves do know.
Poor Robin’s Almanac, 1760

Who Was the First Fool?
Who started it? Did the first fools come from France, England, Sweden or India? The truth is lost in the mists of time.
Some blame it on the French when they adopted a new calendar in 546 that moved the New Year up from April 1st to January 1st. Those who did not get the word in time and continued to celebrate the New Year on April 1st became known as April Fools.
Others argue that the modern April Fools’ Day began in many parts of the world at the same time, in celebration of the spring equinox.
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