Home > Introduction > The Modern Man and the Phrases coined by Shakespeare

The Modern Man and the Phrases coined by Shakespeare

Below are perfect situations to blurt out phrases coined by Shakespeare.

Situation #1

A college student meets up with a friend. He wants to talk to him about how his current relationship is going.

Guy 1: So how are you and that girl? You’ve been dating for three months now.

Guy 2: It’s doing great man! I really like her. I’m a bit disappointed though.

Guy 1: Why’s that?

Guy 2: I want to take our relationship to the next level. I want her to be officially my girlfriend.

Guy 1: Doesn’t she want that too? It seems like she’s so into you, too.

Guy 2: I know she likes me, but we want different things. She’s migrating with her family after college so she said she doesn’t want to make a commitment, knowing she’s gonna leave it anyway.

Guy 1: But dude, if she really likes you, you’ll figure something out. Long distance relationships are hard but there can be a way if you try finding one. She can’t just give up that easily, right?

Guy 2: I know. But it’s just her perspective. She doesn’t want either of us to get hurt. So she thinks we’re just wasting time trying to create an intimacy that wouldn’t last anyway.

Guy 1: She has a point. She did warn you from the start that she’s not looking for anything long-term and that she just wants to have fun, make the most out of life.

Guy 2: I know, I know. It’s just that I’m falling in love with her. At first I thought I would be okay not ending up with her. But now that’s all I really want. I don’t know what to do, man. Right now I’m just having a fool’s paradise.

A fool’s paradise – a state of happiness based on false hope. (From Romeo and Juliet)

Situation #2

A woman is trying to fend off this narcissistic man who annoyingly courts her. She clearly does not like the man but the more she snobs him, all the more he becomes persistent. She has little chances of avoiding him as they work in the same office.

Woman (to her lady friend): Oh no, he’s headed this way. Not again.

Man: Good morning, ladies! (the lady friend walks out)

Woman: Hi! (walks out with her friend)

Man: Hey wait! I have something for you.

Woman: Don’t you always?

Man: It’s different this time. I know you always forget, somehow, the things I give you. I forgive you, I know you’re busy and sometimes you forget the lovely things I give you no matter how you appreciate them. It’s not edible this time so it won’t go to waste in case you forget them.

Woman: You’re a generous person, but I don’t see you more than a friend. Please, stop. I’ve told you this a thousand times. You’re just wasting your time.

Man: I see what you did there. You’re playing hard to get again. C’mon. Don’t you find me attractive? At all?

Woman: Not really. What can I ever do to quit?

Man: And what can I ever do to make you concede? Here. Tulips. It’s better than what that other guy gave you the other day. These look lovelier.

Woman: I appreciate the gesture, but he gave me flowers first.

Man: Are you kidding me? Those were roses. These are tulips. Just look at them.

Woman: A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Man: The hell?

Woman: Nice. You can’t even apply the literal meaning.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet – what matters is what something is, not what it is called. (From Romeo and Juliet)

Situation #3

It’s finals week. A professor planned to be the proctor of his very class for their final exam. He wondered what to do while the students answer the exam.

Prof: Okay class, put all your things in front and we’ll begin the test shortly. Any student caught cheating will face the consequences stated in the student handbook.

(He gives out the questionnaires and answer sheets once the class has settled, then sat on the chair in front.)

These were his thoughts:

Okay, now what to do? I just rushed here so I haven’t really brought anything. On purpose, at least. Wait, I think I brought the newspaper from this morning. Let me just search for it in my bag.. Aha! Found you. (skimming through the newspaper) Mhmm I read this already, and this too. (continues skimming) Boring boring boring… Old issue… Don’t really care about this event… Don’t like the writing style of this guy… Okay, what else do I have? Wait! I want to finish the book I was reading yesterday. Where is it? It must be here since I used the same bag as yesterday. Okay! Mission look-for-novel. I have nothing else to do here aside from glancing at the students every now and then. I might fall asleep not doing anything.

Finally says: A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse! (class just laughs)

A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse – this is repeated ironically when someone is in need of some unimportant item. (From Shakespeare’s Richard III)

As we can see, Shakespeare seems to be the master of idiomatic expressions. It would be nice to have these more popular today. However, he also coined phrases that we use more often such as “all of a sudden”, which simply means suddenly, and “all corners of the world, which simply means all parts of the world. He was both a propagator of language and a lord of it, since he coined so many phrases that range in derivations of meaning. Some were just literal, some were undoubtedly metaphorical.

For more Shakespeare-coined phrases, go to this site:


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