How to be an alien

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GEORGE

MIKES

How to be an Alien

DRAWINGS

BY N I C O L A S

BENTLEY

How to be an Alien
GEORGE MIKES
Nicolas Bentley
drew the pictures
Level 3
Retold by Karen Holmes
Series Editors: Andy Hopkins and Jocelyn Potter

Pearson Education limited
Edinburgh Gate, Harlow,
Essex CM20 2JE, England
and Associated Companies throughout the world.
ISBN 0 582 468272
Firstpublished by Andre Deutsch 1946
Copyright 1946 by George Mikes and Nicolas Bentley
This adaptation first published by Penguin Books 1998
Published by Addison Wesley Longman Limited and Penguin Books Ltd. 1998
This edition first published 2000
Text copyright © Karen Holmes 1998
All illustrations copyright © Nicolas Bentley 1946
All rights reserved
The moral right of the adapter and of theillustrator has been asserted

Typeset by Digital Type, London
Set in ll/14pt Bembo
Printed in Spain by Mateu Cromo, S. A. Pinto (Madrid)

All rights reserved; no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored
in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the
prior written permission of the Publishers.Published by Pearson Education Limited in association with Penguin Books Ltd, both
companies being subsidiaries of Pearson Plc

For a complete list of the tides available in the Penguin Readers series please write to your
local Pearson Education office or to: Marketing Department, Penguin Longman Publishing,
5 Bentinck Street, London W1M 5RN.

Contents
page
Introduction

ivPreface

1

Part 1 The Most Important Rules

3

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15

A Warning to Beginners
Introducing People
The Weather
Examples for Conversation
Soul: Not Quite Saying What You Mean
Tea
Sex
The Language
How Not to Be Clever
How to BeRude
How to Compromise
How to Be a Hypocrite
Small Pleasures
Favourite Things
Remember

3
5
7
7
10
11
12
12
14
15
17
18
18
19
21

Part 2 Less Important Rules and some
Special Examples

21

Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24

21
22
23
24
28
29
32
35
37

Activities

A BloomsburyIntellectual
Mayfair Playboy
How to Be a Film-Maker
Driving Cars
Three Games for Bus Drivers
How to Plan a Town
Civil Servants
British Newspapers
If Naturalized

41

Introduction
The weather is the most important subject in the land. In Europe,
people say, ‘He is the type of person who talks about the
weather,’ to show that somebody is very boring. In England, the
weather is always aninteresting, exciting subject and you must be
good at talking about it.
George Mikes wrote this book to tell the English what he thought
about them. He is both funny and rude about the strange things
English people do and say - the things that make them different
from other Europeans. In this book you will learn many useful
rules about being English. You will learn how to talk about theweather, and what to say when somebody brings you a cup of tea
at 5 o’clock in the morning. You will discover what the English
really think of clever people and doctors. This book will help you
to be more like the English. As George Mikes says: ‘If you are
like the English, they think you are funny. If you are not like
them, they think you are even funnier.’
George Mikes was born in Hungary in1921. He studied law at
Budapest University, and then began to write for newspapers. He
came to London for two weeks just before the Second World War
began, and made England his home for the rest of his life. During
the war he worked for the BBC, making radio programmes for
Hungary.
He wrote How to be an Alien in 1946. He did not want to write
an amusing book, but thousands of English...
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