Learn English the Hard Way with “Hope to Die”

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 “Hope to Die”.

Study hard!

A woman with dirty-blond hair, more handsome than beautiful, raised her hand

make that about fifty-eight hours now. Almost seventy hours, if we had to push it.

by five p.m. on Friday at the absolute latest

Pain knifed through my head

who danced just beyond the outstretched fingers of my memory

longing for the smells of years gone past

looking like she wanted to be anywhere but on my front porch

“… watching reruns of The Walking Dead.”


“The television show about the zombie apocalypse.”

Let’s hear it,” she said in a calm, professional manner.

“I began getting these pictures every hour on the hour.”

transferred the pictures to a laptop and blew them up enough to see they were doctored.

What does he gain from doing all this to you and your family?

hoping that sooner or later I’ll jump off

“Begging’s a classic indicator. Isn’t it, Mitch?”

The driver, a hulk of a man in jeans, hiking boots, and a Boston Red Sox jersey, nodded, said, “It is, Marcus.” Acadia wasn’t buying it.

How would you know?

“… can guess,” she said. “Critter runs in the woods, a dog chases it. Tries to kill it. It’s in its nature.

There you go,” Sunday said, snapping his fingers at her

The end is near

the dog growled low and circled him, taking his wind

Well, what’d you expect? Amateur hour?

Thought we agreed no tweaking during the game

Sunday debated whether to press the point, decided not to

Then the likelihood that she was gone hit me like a freight train

On autopilot, I took a route I’d taken a thousand times with my children

I’d walked them to their school

“Not a bad business concept.”

That’s what I thought…”

“He wore thin white gloves.”

“Of course he did,” I said, wanting to punch a wall. “But just the same. Do you have a plastic sandwich bag?”

Will the real Thierry Mulch please stand up?

It took sophisticated computer work. The kind Preston Elliot could do in his sleep.

It’s a brilliant way for Mulch to throw us, isn’t it?

I can’t just sit here and wait for more members of my family to show up dead, Cap. I refuse to.

“We don’t have DNA results yet,” Sampson said.

I’ve been telling myself that.

And you keep telling yourself that, you hear?

but then he spotted a sign ahead in the light rain that read Pritchard’s Farm: Specialty Pork.

There it be, …”

You thinking about her, shug?

There were times when I could swear my partner was clairvoyant.

It started to rain. Sampson turned on the wipers

that reeked of a stench I can’t even begin to describe.

pigs, or shoats, jammed into a pit that was easily a football field long

That’s the smell a’ money in there, sure as I’m standing right here.

I’m sorry about your wife, Jesus knows I am

I was way out of line there.

Have faith.

Can I take a leak without you peeking over my shoulder?

I managed a laugh

Bringing her along was bad enough. Arming her was crazy,

Ava was no polished driver, but she had grit

“Sorry if I stepped on any toes or poked any sacred cows,” Aaliyah said to Sampson and Mahoney.

Apology accepted,” the FBI agent said wearily.

On the one hand, it could be a figure of speech. On the other, it could mean that

My nickel opinion: the less they know, the better.

You’re no good to Cross or his family if you can’t think straight.

What’s his angle? What’s he doing?

Your game. Your rules

She looked played out.

until I heard Ava get out to go to the outhouse.

and had an early lunch in a greasy-spoon café on the wrong side of town

“Really?” Ava said, warming to him. “I’m like that too”

his mouth was hanging open, and he was gently snoring. I guess two beers will do that to you when you’re pushing eighty and close to death.

Back up a minute. What makes you think he’s alive?

she’ll have what my granddaughter Lizzie calls ‘a cow.

You throw a stick in Upshur County, and there’s a mine

You shake a dog, and a mining consultant will jump off before the fleas

it looked like some giant had come along and lopped off the entire top of a mountain.

Real smart. And that was the shame of it all, what I think led to the killing.

And the tests on Damon would be back Monday at the earliest.

Not surprising, Aaliyah thought. There are all sorts of Aryan nuts up there, aren’t there?

and doing little else.

How much do you want to bet his tires are bald?

THE MINING TRUCK CAUGHT up to us as I power-drifted the sedan through the oncoming switchback

to get the tires to skip off the ruts and washboard

The Colt barked and jumped in my hand

We’re gonna get railroaded here. I want an attorney.

They’re lying, all three of ’em. But I can see where this is going. I want an attorney too

The detectives who stayed positive, who carried hope in their hearts, were the ones most likely to have stamina. She was glad that Cross’s oldest friend was coming from that place

But it smelled like a doused campfire.

Over the gurgling of the stream

The tires would have to be examined by an expert to say for sure, but they looked the part.

“Not yet,” she said, even though she felt dizzy and sick.

“What about that smell?”

It’ll wait,” he said

“Stay put,” he said. “He bit you something good.”

Maybe treat you for rabies too

And yet my hands were clammy,

Sunday wanted to spin around and slap her silly

I’m thinking, Acadia. You’ve heard of that, haven’t you? Thinking?

“Stupid?” he asked, softer now. She glanced at him angrily, nodded.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “One thing you are not, Acadia, is stupid.”

“You don’t think the video’s real?”

“Oh, it’s real enough

and eating the last of the burgers

But when I’d awoken to Gloria Jones pounding at my door and seen the video, I’d taken heart

I haven’t given up the ghost yet, Gloria

“What a wonderful surprise. I’m Christine Prince. Your father’s been telling me so much about you.”

Has he, now?” Aaliyah asked.

At least Dad’s keeping the place up,

The nurses had stuck her with more needles than she cared to remember

“You’re all he talks about,” she said, and chuckled that chuckle

“… how Damon was teed up for big tits, and now he’s dead.”

Back up,” I said. “You saw Damon with a strange woman that morning?”

and he’d give you the shirt off his back if you needed it

“Damon said he liked you, and you said you liked him!” Porter said.

What else is there?

“And she had a tattoo of some kind of black cat on her left arm.”

She did not,” Porter said.

She did so,” Grant shot back.

And not one of you thought to tell someone about this before now?

They say our sense of smell is our most primal, the one that can hit us the hardest

“How far you got to go?” Brower asked, looking concerned.

What’s that?

“Where are you headed?”

You can’t know how low I was when you told me

that this game Sunday was playing was ultimately going to be a loser.

“You think this will work all over the world? Solar-based refrigeration?”

Wouldn’t that be something?

His agile mind was running full tilt

got a pillow from the sleeping berth, and smothered the man to death.

I was trying to juggle so much at the same time that I couldn’t chance anything that might cloud my judgment.

Which meant it was a crapshoot as to which of the three places he thought she might run to she’d actually gone.

she and I have been on the outs for a while now

The rain had been falling in sheets

Acadia got closer still and saw lights behind the threadbare curtains

You couldn’t forget a name like that if you tried

But you pressed the issue, lover, so here you are,

I could tell he was certainly nobody’s fool.

was worth the price of admission

I swiped at the tears with my sleeve and prayed

and then everything went kaleidoscopic and herky-jerky

and came up with my jackknife

I was going to have to do this by Braille. Not necessarily a bad thing

It’s gonna take me a week to clean my Goat.” Lester groaned.

Then it takes a week,” she said. “Here, have him sit on this.”

Am I missing something here?” I asked, confused.

“Shit,” Muntz said. “Now everyone’s gonna know we broke in and tampered with—”

Grow a set, Deputy,” Aaliyah

and then bounced awake when the cruiser hit a rut

And the door was sealed with two-by-fours and screws.

what she’d intuited in the past few hours.

The way the captain tells it, his wife, Shirley, is a nominee for bitch of the century

So, one last time, drop your weapon, Cross.

You best hush, you know what’s good for you, Alex Cross.

Sunday might as well have hit me with a Taser because it felt like a lightning bolt passed through me, and I puked.

and my forehead against hers, and the dam burst, and I broke down weeping

We’re good now. It’s all good and good.

“My friends say that too.”

Smart kids, your friends.

because you, Ali Cross, are an expert in all things zombie.

You’ve done your dad prouder than proud.

“I’ll call you to hear how Jannie did in her race.”

You better,” Bree said

The pews were packed

There goes a life chock-full of meaning,

Other than to say it was a terrible thing that had to be done, she doesn’t talk about it,” I replied.

and dear friend as well as a shrink of the highest caliber.

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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