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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”.

3 Responses to “How many words in Shakespeare?”

  1. kootvela says:

    That’s food for thought. I personally would consider the words with the same root as one word when counting them in fiction.

  2. Musicman says:

    If this is food for thought, prepare for mental indigestion!

    Does it really matter? Surely the artistic and creative inspiration and effect are what we should be interested in.

    Some people obviously do not have enough to fill their time!

  3. hanane says:

    hello Dear Sir,
    I think there are tree words in Shakespeare: shake+spear. Spear is a weapon consisting of a pole with a sharp, usually metal, point at one end, which is either thrown or held in the hand. and Shakespeare shakes his pen and produces poetry and drama that made litterature.

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