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Shakespeare's idioms

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Students start by discussing a very well-known idiom. They then consider some true/false statements about Shakespeare and idioms before reading a text to check their ideas. 

The lesson then focuses on six Shakespearean idioms which are in common use today, looking at the literal and idiomatic meaning. Finally, students use the idioms to talk about situations in their own lives.


Idioms and Shakespeare




40–55 minutes


  • To enable students to learn the meaning of six idioms which come from Shakespeare, which are all frequently used today
  • To help students to understand a little about the contribution that Shakespeare made to the English language as it is today
  • To help students understand the difference between literal and idiomatic meaning, and raise their awareness about idioms in general

Preparation and materials

Make one copy of the student worksheet for each learner.