William Shakespeare and his Influence on Modern Language

How extensive was Shakespeare's vocabulary?


Shakespeare, in his plays, poems, and other writings, used 29,066 unique words. Most people today only use 7,500 to 10,000 unique words in their writing and speech.

How did Shakespeare influence modern language?

Shakespeare introduced nearly 3,000 words into the English language. In addition, Shakespeare's works, which were often quoted, became such commonplace that they helped set the standards for Modern English; prior to Shakespeare, English grammar and spelling had few standards. In addition, many of Shakespeare's expressions (such as "a foregone conclusion") are commonly used today.

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How did Shakespeare use insults in his plays?

William Shakespeare used cleverly fashioned insults in his plays to amuse his audiences. He wrote insults that everyone could enjoy, and he used a large range of insults, some of which were vulgar, comical, cruel, or simply heinously descriptive.

How did Shakespeare's influence on modern language reflect that he was a "man of words"?

If William Shakespeare had not demonstrated such a mastery words as he did, he certainly would not have influenced the English language so robustly. His ability to formulate new, popular words and his ability to maintain an extensive vocabulary positively define him as a "man of words." For his phrases to stand the test of time, Shakespeare must have had a proficiency for the English language.