How many words in Shakespeare?

Several sources claim that Shakespeare used nearly 30,000 different words in his works. However, we need to ask what we mean by “different words”. Is it reasonable to count go and going and gone as three different words? If we count go and going and gone as one word (GO), then Shakespeare used fewer than 20,000 “different words”.


By Josef Essberger for EnglishClub March 2008
Josef started teaching English as a foreign language in 1991 and founded EnglishClub for learners and teachers in 1997.

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