Talk Like Shakespeare Day: A Complete Guide

Today, April 23, 2009, marks the 445th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birthday. In honor of the occasion, the day has been declared Talk Like Shakespeare Day. Ready to get started?

Talk Like Shakespeare Day

According to the gang at, there are 10 steps to mastering the proper dialogue for Talk Like Shakespeare Day:

1. Instead of you, say thou. Instead of y’all, say thee.

2. Rhymed couplets are all the rage.

3. Men are Sirrah, ladies are Mistress, and your friends are all called Cousin.

4. Instead of cursing, try calling your tormenters jackanapes or canker-blossoms or poisonous bunch-back’d toads.

5. Don’t waste time saying “it,” just use the letter “t” (’tis, t’will, I’ll do’t).

6. Verse for lovers, prose for ruffians, songs for clowns.

7. When in doubt, add the letters “eth” to the end of verbs (he runneth, he trippeth, he falleth).

8. To add weight to your opinions, try starting them with methinks, mayhaps, in sooth or wherefore.

9. When wooing ladies: try comparing her to a summer’s day. If that fails, say “Get thee to a nunnery!”

10. When wooing lads: try dressing up like a man. If that fails, throw him in the Tower, banish his friends and claim the throne.

Shakespeare Insults

Of course, it wouldn’t be proper Shakesperean dialect without some solid Shakespeare Insults. Here are a couple of resources to get you started:

Shakesperean Insult Generator

Shakespeare Insults Generator

Shakespeare Birthday: A Video Tribute

Finally, the folks from Chicago’s Shakespeare Theatre prepared this video tribute in honor of Shakespeare’s birthday. Needless to say, these guys really know how to talk like Shakespeare. Watch and learn!