🇺🇸 Learn English the Hard Way with “Hunger Games”

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 “Hunger Games”.

Study hard!

What did it cost you?

“Just a squirrel”

Prim giggles and gives me a small “Quack.

Quack yourself,” I say with a light laugh.

The last thing I needed was another mouth to feed.

But Prim begged so hard, cried even,

I had to let him stay. It turned out okay.

Entrails. No hissing. This is the closest we will ever come to love.

Men and women with hunched shoulders, swollen knuckles, many who have long since stopped trying to scrub the coal dust out of their broken nails,

The reaping isn’t until two.

and there are added concerns like venomous snakes

more people would risk it if they had weapons.

Prim might begin to repeat my words and then where would we be?

I almost regretted it because he wasn’t bad company.

I watch as Gale pulls out his knife and slices the bread. He could be my brother

But we’re not related, at least not closely.

But to be honest, I’m not the forgiving type.

They’re not our kids, of course. But they might as well be. Gale’s two little brothers and a sister. Prim. And you may as well throw in our mothers, too, because how would they live without us?

You can tell by the way the girls whisper about him when he walks by in school that they want him.

And a lot of people do, out of relief that their children have been spared for another year.

a bag of greens and, best of all, a gallon of strawberries.

We don’t hunt them on purpose, but if you’re attacked and you take out a dog or two, well, meat is meat.

No one in the Seam would turn up their nose at a good leg of wild dog

Being the mayor’s daughter, you’d expect her to be a snob, but she’s all right

She just keeps to herself.

No, it’s no one’s fault. Just the way it is,

I don’t like that Gale took a dig at Madge,

The reaping system is unfair, with the poor getting the worst of it.

That’s true for every citizen in all twelve districts in the entire country of Panem.

You can see why someone like Madge, who has never been at risk of needing a tessera

On other days, deep in the woods, I’ve listened to him rant about

I let him yell though. Better he does it in the woods than in the district.

Her first reaping. She’s about as safe as you can get, since she’s only entered once.

But she’s worried about me. That the unthinkable might happen.

I protect Prim in every way I can,

We decide to save the strawberries and bakery bread for this evening’s meal, to make it special we say.

The square’s surrounded by shops, and on public market days, especially if there’s good weather, it has a holiday feel to it

there’s an air of grimness. The camera crews, perched like buzzards on rooftops, only add to the effect.

These same people tend to be informers, and who hasn’t broken the law?

the brutal war for what little sustenance remained.

In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy,

The last tribute standing wins.

and how the odds are not in his favor. Not compared to a lot of the boys.

I bet my buttons that was your sister. Don’t want her to steal all the glory, do we?

I’ll never know because just as he’s opening his mouth to continue, Haymitch plummets off the stage and knocks himself unconscious.

Oh, no, I think. Not him.

but one is probably too old now to volunteer and the other won’t. This is standard. Family devotion only goes so far for most people on reaping day.

three months earlier in the bitterest January anyone could remember.

as compensation for his death, enough to cover one month of grieving at which time my mother would be expected to get a job. Only she didn’t.

I bought our food at the market and cooked it as best I could

But the money ran out and we were slowly starving to death. There’s no other way to put it.

But it crossed my mind that there might be something in the trash bins, and those were fair game.

He was in my year, but I didn’t know his name. He stuck with the town kids, so how would I?

My knees buckled and I slid down the tree trunk to its roots. It was too much.

I was too sick and weak and tired, oh, so tired.

Feed it to the pig, you stupid creature! Why not? No one decent will buy burned bread!”

It didn’t occur to me until the next morning that the boy might have burned the bread on purpose.

And more than once, I have turned in the school hallway and caught his eyes trained on me

Exactly how am I supposed to work in a thank-you in there

I know. I won’t. I couldn’t help what—”

“Well, you have to help it this time. You can’t clock out and leave Prim on her own

Maybe you can win.” I can’t win. Prim must know that in her heart.

Then he vomits all over the expensive carpet and falls in the mess.

So laugh away!”

The moment the anthem ends, we are taken into custody. I don’t mean we’re handcuffed or anything, but…

Crying is not an option.

Besides, it isn’t in my nature to go down without a fight,

We always wait to trade with him when his witch of a wife isn’t around because

I feel certain he would never have hit his son the way she did over the burned bread

The baker’s not a very talkative man in the best of times, and today he has no words at all.

Wearing a token from my district is about the last thing on my mind.

but you’ve got to get your hands on a bow. That’s your best chance.

Even a weak bow is better than no bow at all.”

Whatever the truth is, I don’t see how it will help me get food on the table.

took people awhile to realize what was going on in the districts

says Effie Trinket. I think she’s relieved by Haymitch’s absence, and who can blame her?

“The pair last year ate everything with their hands like a couple of savages. It completely upset my digestion.”

not one day of their lives, had enough to eat. And when they did have food, table manners were surely the last thing on their minds.

My mother taught Prim and I to eat properly, so yes, I can handle a fork and knife.

She has dark brown skin and eyes, but other than that, she’s very like Prim in size and demeanor

Last of all, they show District .

we haul him into the bathtub and turn the shower on him. He hardly notices. “It’s okay,” Peeta says to me. “I’ll take it from here.

It’s because he’s being kind. Just as he was kind to give me the bread. The idea pulls me up short

Kind people have a way of working their way inside me and rooting there. And I can’t let Peeta do this. Not where we’re going.

That night, we gorged ourselves on dandelion salad

After several hours, I had the good luck to kill a rabbit.

Game was game after all, no matter who’d shot it.

I just hope I get one who doesn’t think nudity is the last word in fashion.

One time, my mother told me that I always eat like I’ll never see food again

Some of our tributes have still been strong enough to make a go of it

or simply for the bragging rights of picking a winner

Well, what’s this?” says Haymitch. “Did I actually get a pair of fighters this year?”

The cameras haven’t lied about its grandeur. If anything, they have not quite captured the magnificence of the glistening buildings

I was getting a little shaky there,” says Peeta. “It didn’t show,” I tell him. “I’m sure no one noticed.”

but they’re so unlike people that I’m no more self-conscious than if a trio of oddly colored birds were pecking around my feet

Why don’t you put on your robe and we’ll have a chat.”

and for dessert, a pudding the color of honey.

Days of hunting and gathering for this one meal and even then it would be a poor substitution for the Capitol version.

What must it be like, I wonder, to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button?

It’s always dreadful and does nothing to win favor with the crowd. I prepare myself for the worst.

He brought me cookies.” Peeta raises his eyebrows as if this is news

Effie knows everyone who’s anyone in the Capitol

Barbarism? That’s ironic coming from a woman helping to prepare us for slaughter

Although lacking in many departments, Effie Trinket has a certain determination I have to admire

The expression of terror that crosses her face only adds to my confusion and unease.

Don’t be ridiculous, Katniss. How could you possibly know an Avox?” snaps Effie. “The very thought.”

No, I guess not, I just —” I stammer, and the wine is not helping.

“Oh, well. If that’s all it is,” says Cinna. “And yes, the cake has spirits, but all the alcohol has burned off

Now go get some sleep while the grown-ups talk.”

So, Delly Cartwright. Imagine finding her lookalike here.”

If I tell him the truth about the girl, somehow that might even things up. How can it hurt really?

But you have to admit, the food’s prime.”

They’ll be tripping over each other to sponsor you.” “No more than you,”

“I think her name’s Rue,” he says softly. I bite my lip. Rue is a small yellow flower that grows in the Meadow. Rue. Primrose. Neither of them could tip the scale at seventy pounds soaking wet.

What can we do about it?” I ask him, more harshly than I intended.

that I have to scrape off with a heavy bristled brush. Oh, well. At least my blood is flowing.

When I ask if I can serve myself, he nods assent.

Just two mornings ago, I was home. Can that be right? Yes, just two

I’ve been putting food on the table for four years. That’s no small task.

I’m a tough trader. Or am I? 

Every minute! It’s not open for discussion! You agreed to do as I said!

It’s such a joke! Peeta and I going along pretending to be friends!

By the time I meet Effie and Peeta at the elevator, I catch myself biting my nails. I stop at once.

In District , we call them the Career Tributes, or just the Careers. And like as not, the winner will be one of them

There’s little enough beauty in District , though, so I can hardly deny her this.

Because ever since I slammed my door, there’s been a chill in the air between us. But we have our orders.

She can hit the target every time with a slingshot. But what is a slingshot against a -pound male with a sword?

“Don’t. Don’t let’s pretend when there’s no one around.”

Although if I’m going to lose, I’d rather Peeta win than the others.

Then I really begin to sob. Now I’ve done it! Now I’ve ruined everything!

I shot an arrow at the Gamemakers.” Everyone stops eating. “You what?”

I dismissed myself,” I said. I remember how I promised Prim that I really would try to win and I feel like a ton of coal has dropped on me. “Well, that’s that,

What was I thinking, shooting at the Gamemakers?

Oh, what does it matter? It’s not like I was going to win the Games anyway.

It takes at least an hour for me to cry myself out.

Still, the scores can help or hurt an individual tribute in terms of sponsorship.

They were singing some kind of drinking song, I think.

And just because you come from District Twelve is no excuse to ignore you.”

I hope that’s how people interpret the four I’ll probably get,” says Peeta. “If that.

“More flames?” I ask. “Of a sort,” he says mischievously

I call him my friend, but in the last year it’s seemed too casual a word for what Gale is to me.

Peeta and I know the other’s survival means our own death. How do you sidestep that?

Whereas when you open your mouth, you come across more as sullen and hostile.” “I do not!” I say. “Please. I don’t know where you pulled that cheery

You’ve got about as much charm as a dead slug,” says Haymitch. Ouch. That hurts.

Come on, what’s her name?” says Caesar. Peeta sighs. “Well, there is this one girl

Winning… won’t help in my case,” says Peeta. “Why ever not?” says Caesar, mystified.

so I’m thinking the content session should be an improvement over the morning. I couldn’t be more wrong

ordering an outrageous number of delicacies, eating myself sick,

Because my dress, oh, my dress is entirely covered in reflective precious gems

Haymitch and Effie are all fancied up for the occasion

It’s a relief to get to my chair, because between the heels and my legs shaking, I’m afraid I’ll trip

I’ll say this for Caesar, he really does his best to make the tributes shine

“Oh, I eat it by the bucketful.” He turns sideways to the audience in horror, hand on his stomach. “It doesn’t show, does it?

You’re killing us,” says Caesar as if in actual pain. “Details. Details.”

I’ve had a crush on her ever since I can remember

But I’m pretty sure she didn’t know I was alive until the reaping.

Peeta has absolutely wiped the rest of us off the map with his declaration of love for me.

is now dominated by a shot of Peeta and me, separated by a few feet that in the viewers’ heads can never be breached. Poor tragic us.

I could be dead, flat-out dead, in an hour. Not even.

Remember what Haymitch said. Run, find water. The rest will follow,

since my general location has just been broadcast to any killer who cares.

Let him tag along. What’s the harm? And he’s handy with that knife.”

What little urine I’ve been able to pass is a dark brown

Say what you will about my fellow traders in the Hob, but I don’t think they’d welcome him back there if he let me die this way

I think before drifting into a stupor. Let them find me. And find me, they do.

The wall of fire must have an end and it won’t burn indefinitely. Not because the Gamemakers couldn’t keep it fueled but because, again, that would invite accusations of boredom from the audience.

examining the little flames on my fingernails that are beginning to chip off. Good. I’ve had enough fire for a lifetime.

I roll up my sleeping bag. Except for a few black marks, it’s relatively unscathed. My jacket’s another matter. Stinking and scorched, at least a foot of the back beyond repair.

It’s been a bit warm for my taste,

And what if the Careers figure out what I’m doing and move their camp? That would defeat the whole purpose.

Now what? I could probably finish off the job by sense of feel but that may not be the smartest plan

I spot a rabbit and make my first kill with the bow and arrow. It’s not my usual clean shot through the eye, but I’ll take it

Rue places the handful of leaves into her mouth and begins to chew them. My mother would use other methods, but it’s not like we have a lot of options

Maybe being the least prestigious, poorest, most ridiculed district in the country has its advantages.

I could kill it from here if I had a mind to.

“I wonder how that last one died,” says Rue. “No telling. But…

What about you? Won’t you be cold?” she asks. “Not if I pick up another bag down by the lake

Well, hurray for the boy from District for putting one over on them, but what am I supposed to do now?

Even if I only blew up one mine, I’d draw the Careers back down on me for sure. And anyway, what am I thinking? There’s that net, clearly strung to deflect any such attack.

I’m dizzy. Not the slightly wobbly kind, but the kind that sends the trees swooping around you and causes the earth to move in waves under your feet.

stray mine, set off by some collapsing crate. This happens twice more

To say I make it in the nick of time is an understatement.

Although from what Cato said, Peeta’s on his way out. Not that Cato is the final word on anything. Didn’t he just lose his entire stash of supplies?

Since I’ve no idea where the Careers are, the route back by the stream seems as good as any.

The trip to the stream is uneventful.

I go ahead and eat the second fish. It isn’t going to last long in this hot sun, but it should be easy enough to spear a few more for Rue. If she would just show up.

Numerous animals have lost their lives at my hands, but only one human. I hear Gale saying, “How different can it be, really?

I always knew you were his favorite,” says Peeta. “Please, he can’t stand being in the same room with me,” I say.

Okay, change of plans. I’m not going to put you all the way in,

We’re going to have to experiment some,” I admit.

Katniss, you can’t stay up forever.” He’s got a point there.

Well, there’s more swelling, but the pus is gone,” I say in an unsteady voice. “I know what blood poisoning is, Katniss,” says Peeta. “Even if my mother isn’t a healer

“Don’t light a fire,” he says. “It’s not worth it.” “We’ll see,” I say.

Just looking,” said Gale. “Well, look fast. She goes to the butcher soon

You’re not risking your life for me.” “Who said I was?” I say.

They work magic. That thing couldn’t have died if it tried,”

Who can’t lie, Peeta?” I say, even though he can’t hear me.

You better run now, Fire Girl,” says Thresh. I don’t need to be told twice

Just this one time, I let you go. For the little girl. You and me, we’re even then

But if you’d lived in the Seam, I wouldn’t have to explain,” I say. “And don’t try. Obviously I’m too dim to get it.”

What? You’re making that up!” I exclaim. “No, true story,” Peeta says.

The bread? What? From when we were kids?” he says. “I think we can let that go

“Don’t die for me. You won’t be doing me any favors. All right?”

Then I’ll just have to fill in the blanks myself

In stark contrast to two nights ago, when I felt Peeta was a million miles away, I’m struck by his immediacy now

and he’ll only end up getting soaked to the skin for his troubles.

Look, I can handle Cato. I fought him before, didn’t I?” Yeah, and that turned out great. You ended up dying in a mud bank

The word pulls me up short. Murder! Thankfully, I didn’t say it aloud. That’s not going to win me any points in the arena

Huh. I always assumed the shopkeepers live a soft life.

I reach up and give him a kiss. “Sure. Let’s go back to the cave.” He looks pleased and relieved. “Well, that was easy.”

Maybe the ponds still have some,” I say hopefully. “We can check,” he says, but he’s just humoring me.

order him into the sleeping bag and set aside the rest of his food for when he wakes.

If he thinks it’s the safest place, who am I to argue?

Caesar pulls out a handkerchief and has to take a moment because he’s so moved.

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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