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Shakespeare's Language

Focus on the language of Shakespeare with our home learning resources

While schools are closed, we’re pleased to offer our high-quality, curriculum-linked educational resources for free to anyone who needs them. If you’re in a position to make a donation to support our work now and into the future we would really appreciate it. Thank you.

Shakespeare's Actors

A comparison between Early Modern English and Modern English

This resource outlines the major differences between the English Shakespeare wrote – what language historians call Early Modern English – and the English we speak today, Modern English. It includes a short practical activity to deepen understanding, and an answer sheet.


Translating Early Modern English into Modern English

Translate some of Shakespeare’s lines into Modern English to understand the differences between Elizabethan English and the English we speak today. A great fit with the info sheet above on Early Modern English vs Modern English.

Language of the Theatre

Shakespeare’s Language of the Theatre

Shakespeare wrote specifically for the theatre, so this activity looks at location, emotion, and action in an excerpt from Romeo and Juliet. A good way to develop an understanding of writing for the specific context of an Elizabethan playhouse.


Idioms we still use thanks to Shakespeare

Although Shakespeare wrote his plays and poems some 400 years ago, many of his expressions are still familiar to us today – we regularly speak Shakespeare without realising it. Take a look at this short text by journalist Bernard Levin, “On Quoting Shakespeare”

Swear like Shakespeare

Swear like Shakespeare!

Get your tongue around Shakespeare’s language with this simple insult generator and develop an understanding of dramatic conflict. An additional vocabulary sheet helps with words no longer in use.

Language in Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

Sonnets in Romeo and Juliet

Learn about the structure and purpose of sonnets through one of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays. Includes student activities and thought provoking discussion questions. Vocabulary sheet included.

Romeo and Juliet

Oxymorons in Romeo and Juliet

Explore the world of oxymorons. Includes discussion questions to help students dive into the language of the play, and the features of Romeo’s speech.

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