Author Archive

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The English have no soul, they have the understatement instead

The English have no soul, they have the understatement instead. George Mikes, How to be an Alien, p.24

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Do you know what the English vice really is?

Do you know what “le vice anglais”—the English vice—really is? Not flagellation, not pederasty—whatever the French believe it to be: it’s our refusal to admit our emotions. We think they demean us, I suppose. Terence Rattigan, In Praise of Love, (1973) Act II, p.537

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Englishwomen conceal their feelings until after they are married

Englishwomen conceal their feelings until after they are married. They show them then. Oscar Wilde, A Woman of no Importance

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I am due to appear in court next week

I am due to appear in court next week Charged with emotion. Roger McGough, Vandal

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Upper class, middle-class, lower class

Cleese: (In bowler hat, black jacket and pinstriped trousers) I look down on him (Indicates Barker) because I am upper-class. Barker: (Pork-pie hat and raincoat) I look up to him (Cleese) because he is upper-class; but I look down on him (Corbett) because he is lower-class. I am middle-class Corbett: (Cloth cap

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The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language

The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language. George Bernard Shaw, widely attributed beginning in the 1940s, e.g. Reader’s Digest (November 1942). Not found in his published works. Variant: The English and the Americans are two peoples divided by a common language

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Bad people? What kind of bad people?

Bad people? What kind of bad people? Members of the Church of Satan? Insurance salesmen? People who don’t speak English?” Wayne Gerard Trotman, Ashes to Ashes

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The unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable

One knows so well the popular idea of health: the English country gentleman galloping after a fox—the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable. Oscar Wilde

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We have really everything in common with America nowadays

We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language. Oscar Wilde, The Canterville Ghost

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When learning English as a second language

When learning English as a second language, be sure to garble small words out of order in incomplete sentences. Then you’ll have achieved the proficiency of a native speaker. Bauvard, Some Inspiration for the Overenthusiastic
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