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William Shakespeare

Shakespeare affected English by introducing the language to many new words. He had a large vocabulary because he loved trying out new words. However, the words that Shakespeare introduced were often close to their etymological source. If the word was taken from Latin, the English word would have the same meaning, whereas nowadays the meaning could be very different. He also experimented with grammar. Nouns could become verbs and vice versa. Shakespeare used the double negative in his plays. It was an acceptable form of a stronger negative. "Thou hast spoken no word all this time - nor understood none neither." Shakespeare also used adjectives differently. He could use the double comparative "most boldest" or the superlative form "honester".

Here are several links about English life at the time of Shakespeare.
Link addresses contributed by Debra Brown

Everyday Life
Daily Life and Entertainment
Everyday Life in Renaissance England
Medieval and Renaissance Games

Here are a few extra links

short biography
audio examples