© 2018 Caroline Heywood

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Shakespeare's Shakespeare?

February 9, 2018

I'm lucky to share my name with a lesser known author who contributed much to the standard English of today. When I mean standard, I'm not thinking of the rules of grammar, but the common everyday language of expressions: phrases and idioms as teachers often refer to them. Shakespeare is very well known, not only for his wit and perception, but also for a lot of lovely modern English language: puking, bawdy, The Mousetrap etc. (more on Agatha Christie - and of course Shakespeare himself - at a later date).

 

But once you read some of the quotes from my - or more correctly my father's -namesake, John Heywood, you could be forgiven for mistaking him for Shakespeare. Born in 1497, he gave us phrases, or at least wrote down phrases, such as: "Rome wasn't built in a day", "at our wittes end" (note the old spelling), and in a darkly comic run up to Valentine's day "marriage is destiny, and hanging likewise"! These can be found in "The Proverbs of John Heywood, Being the Proverbs of that Author, printed 1546 Ed.' So on to a more inspiring tone, partly as a reminder of how long it was before I got round to creating this site, "nothing is impossible to a willing heart" and "many hands make light work".

 

Finally, "now for good luck, cast an old shoe after me!" which might explain why we used to tie old shoes onto the back of cars when a couple set off after the wedding party.

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