🇺🇸 Learn English the Hard Way with “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz”

Chances are you are looking for improving your English language comprehension through reading stories.

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 “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz”.

Study hard!

“My father,” he said, “is by far the richest man in the world.”

“Oh,” said John politely. He could think of no answer to make to this confidence.

Mrs. Unger was known “from hot-box to hot-bed,” as the local phrase went, for her political addresses

had danced all the latest dances from New York before he put on long trousers.

That respect for a New England education which is the bane of all provincial places, which drains them yearly of their most promising young men, had seized upon his parents

he should go to St. Midas’s School near Boston—Hades was too small to hold their darling and gifted son.

and a function that in Hades would be considered elaborate would doubtless be hailed by a Chicago beef-princess as “perhaps a little tacky.”

Mrs. Unger, with maternal fatuity, packed his trunks full of linen suits

Mr. Unger presented his son with an asbestos pocket-book stuffed with money.

to have it changed to something with a little more push and verve about it, such as “Hades—Your Opportunity

While he was very fond of all the boys he visited, their fathers struck him as being much of a piece

but for some reason he kept aloof from the other boys.

“Oh, they’re nothing.” Percy’s mouth was a half-moon of scorn. “Catch-penny capitalists, financial small-fry, petty merchants and money-lenders. My father could buy them out and not know he’d done it.”

the village of Fish, minute, dismal, and forgotten.

They had become a race apart, these twelve men of Fish,

the twelve men of Fish gathered like ghosts at the shanty depot

After half an hour, when the twilight had coagulated into dark

and the hubs of the wheels were studded with iridescent geometric figures of green and yellow

Sorry we had to bring you this far in that buggy, but of course it wouldn’t do for the people on the train or those God-forsaken fellas in Fish to see this automobile

The two armchair seats in which the boys luxuriated were covered with stuff that resembled duvetyn

If the car was any indication of what John would see, he was prepared to be astonished indeed.

The simple piety prevalent in Hades has the earnest worship of and respect for riches as the first article of its creed

his parents would have turned away in horror at the blasphemy.

If the moon shone down here, you’d see that we’re in a big gulch

In fact, it’d take a tank to navigate it unless you knew the way.

where they caught a glimpse of a pale moon newly risen in the distance

The worst is over,

It’s only five miles from here, and our own road—tapestry brick—all the way

showering down tracts and patent medicine circulars, with their messages of hope for despairing, rock-bound hamlets

he could see them look down out of the clouds and stare—and stare at whatever there was to stare at in this place whither he was bound

John shook his head and the wraith of a hollow laugh issued silently from his parted lips

What a moral expedient of a bizarre Croesus?

a pine grove, pungent and cool

The many towers, the slender tracery of the sloping parapets, the chiselled wonder of a thousand yellow windows

as John gazed up in warm enchantment the faint acciaccare sound of violins drifted down in a rococo harmony

man who stood drinking a many-hued cordial from a crystal thimble set on a golden stem.

it dazzled the eyes with a whiteness that could be compared only with itself, beyond human wish, or dream.

inhabited by vivid fish and growths of rainbow foliage

where each plate was of two almost imperceptible layers of solid diamond between which was curiously worked a filigree of emerald design

Music, plangent and unobtrusive, drifted down through far corridors

I suppose, sir, that you’d like hot rosewater and soapsuds this morning, sir

“Yes,” agreed John, smiling inanely, “as you please.”

Any idea of ordering this bath according to his own meagre standards of living would have been priggish and not a little wicked

flutes dripping a melody that was like a waterfall, cool and green as the room itself, accompanying a frothy piccolo

he stepped out and into a fleecy robe

and Percy, gorgeous in white kid knickerbockers, smoking in an easy chair.

At the close of the Civil War he was a twenty-five-year-old Colonel with a played-out plantation

He had lost his way when riding in the hills, and after a day without food he began to grow hungry

The negroes believed him implicitly. They passed a vote declaring it a good thing and held revival services immediately.

“Hallo,” she cried softly, “I’m Kismine.” She was much more than that to John already.

It is youth’s felicity as well as its insufficiency that it can never live in the present

flowers and gold, girls and stars, they are only prefigurations and prophecies of that incomparable, unattainable young dream.

and struck off across a park toward a patch of moss under some trees.

“I hope you’re better this morning.”—“You darling,” added his eyes tremulously.

On her suggestion they sat down together upon the moss

She’s coming out in London a year from this fall.

I think that sophisticated young people are terribly common, don’t you?

Deeply flattered, John bowed from the hips as he had been taught at dancing school in Hades.

Side by side they walked back toward the house

Nevertheless, I’ve had two dozen men looking for him in different towns around here.”

And no luck?


but of course it was probably only the reward they were after—”

He broke off.

“—how unnecessary—”

Not to me.

“Well—how cruel—”

“We’ve covered that. Cruelty doesn’t exist where self-preservation is involved. You’ve been soldiers; you know that. Try another.

“Well, then, how stupid.”

“There,” admitted Washington, “I grant you that.”

In my youth I was distracted for a while from the business of life by a period of absurd idealism.

Braddock Washington stumbled, and let forth an involuntary curse.

and covered by a strong iron grating

Their upturned faces, lit with wrath

“Well, how are you, boys?” he inquired genially.

A chorus of execration, in which all joined except a few too dispirited to cry out

“We decided to stay here for love!”

I don’t want you here, I wish to heaven I’d never seen you

This isn’t as hard on you as you make it out,

If you were the type who worried much about the loved ones at home, you’d never have taken up aviation.

How about trusting us not to peach on you?

Hey, I can speak Italian! My mother was a wop.

July under the lee of the diamond mountain was a month of blanket nights and of warm, glowing days.

I knew it would make things sort of depressing for you.”

Oh, you did, did you?” John’s voice trembled with anger.

John found Mr. Washington a somewhat exacting personality—utterly uninterested in any ideas or opinions except his own

She had even pined away for a time, and Braddock Washington had taken steps to promote a new war in the Balkans

I blush to tell you, but it was a moving-picture fella.

but of course I could never get father’s permission to marry you at all. Next to that I’d rather elope.

She’d give them the nicest presents toward the last

“Very well, dearest,” he agreed, with pale and unconvincing affection, “we’ll go together.”

who burst out with an imperious command: “Get in here! All three of you! Quick as hell!

staring into the veils of somnolence that draped the room

Through the squares of blue darkness that were his open windows,

It was apparent that something portentous had occurred

Then he mounted a long flight of stairs

began to release their bombs and the whole of the valley became a panorama of deep reverberate sound and lurid light

Suddenly the whole portico of the negro quarters cracked asunder

I’ll be an orphan and utterly free. Free and poor! What fun!

and began to ascend a narrow path that wound like a garter about the diamond mountain

he knew that the dawn would break soon

The voice was become strong and confident. This was no forlorn supplication. If anything, there was in it a quality of monstrous condescension.

Behind them from the valley came no sound at all, except the complaint of the peacocks far away and the pleasant undertone of morning.

oppressed by some dark sense of tragic impendency

The aviators had clambered from their machines

There was no fire—what smoke there was drifted off mingling with the sunshine

“How pleasant then to be insane!”

So I’m told,” said John gloomily.

“I don’t know any longer.”

They aren’t very big, but— Hello!” His expression changed as he held one of them up to the declining sun. “Why, these aren’t diamonds!”

By golly!

His was a great sin who first invented consciousness.

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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