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General Writing and Grammar Help/meaning of the expression "dreams die hard"

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Dear Ted,
I'm not sure of the meaning of the expression "dreams die hard". I think it means the following:
When you have a dream, a goal, it's hard, difficult, painful,agonizing to give up on your dream (to stop trying to achieve your goal). I think it can also mean that when people have a goal and realize they can't achieve it, it makes them very angry, sad, or frustrated. When people have a goal, even if they fail to achieve it after a long time, they continue to have that goal.
Is my understanding of the expression correct?
Also, am I using the expression correctly in the following sentence.
"Even though Mike failed the TOEFL test three times, he keeps trying to pass it. Dreams die hard."

Answer
Dear Glen:

I'm not sure of the meaning of the expression "dreams die hard". I think it means the following:
When you have a dream, a goal, it's hard, difficult, painful,agonizing to give up on your dream (to stop trying to achieve your goal). I think it can also mean that when people have a goal and realize they can't achieve it, it makes them very angry, sad, or frustrated. When people have a goal, even if they fail to achieve it after a long time, they continue to have that goal.
Is my understanding of the expression correct?
Also, am I using the expression correctly in the following sentence.
"Even though Mike failed the TOEFL test three times, he keeps trying to pass it. Dreams die hard."

*** Glen, your interpretation is correct for the most part.  I do not believe that a person is "very angry, sad, or frustrated."  While that may be true for some people, the expression is a very positive one, similar to "never give up."  Your sentence about Mike is a good example.  Even though he has failed the test three time, he refuses to quit.  

The phrase does not indicate sadness or anger.  It is a statement describing persistence.

Here is a passage taken from an internet forum:


Stating that dreams die hard means that dreams (hopes, aspirations, wishes) are very persistent and not easily set aside. A person who has always aspired to become an astronaut will not be easily swayed by someone telling them their dream is unrealistic.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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