Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ungrammaticality (in Shakespeare’s Plays): Word Order

Ungrammaticality (in Shakespeare’s Plays): Word Order
       Shakespeare often took liberties with grammar, just as all poets do. Poets are said to have general permission to twist sentences about, to chop off here and there, and to make up new words. This is called poetic license. Now, however, we usually say that poets gain many poetic effects just by being ungrammatical. 
        Shakespeare’s poetry is often ungrammatical in its word order. In English we are careful to keep a pretty exact word order. We have rules for the sequence of nouns and verbs and modifiers in a sentence. Only foreigners and poets might say, “From you I have been absent in the spring.” Shakespeare says this in one of his sonnets. A native speaker, one who had spoken English from his early childhood would move the phrase from you to the vicinity of absent, and would say, “I have been absent from you in the spring.”
Directions: Rewrite the quotations in the most natural, grammatical form in your reckoning. Don’t be put off by the charm of the poet and neglect to listen to your own speech. Do five of the following. Extra credit will be awarded for completing all ten.
Example: You may my glories and my state depose
                 But not my grief. Still am I king of those.            [Richard the Second]

You may depose [put down] my glories [praises from others] and my state [of mind] but not my griefs [ the things that make me sad].
I am still king of those.

1. Men were deceivers ever.     [Much Ado About Nothing]    

2. To me she’s married, not unto my clothes.   [The Taming of the Shrew]

3. Plucking the grass to know where sits the wind. [The Merchant of Venice]

4. Why should this a desert be? [ As You Like It ]

5. My dismal scene I needs must act alone.  [ Romeo and Juliet ]

6. Oh, bid me leap, rather than marry Paris,
    From off the battlements of yonder tower.     [ Romeo and Juliet ]

7. Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour. [Richard the Second

8. Younger than she are happy mothers made.  [Romeo and Juliet ]

9. More can I bear than you dare execute.  [Henry the Sixth]

10. Madness in great ones must not unwatched go. [Hamlet ]


  1. 1: Men have always been deceiving.
    8: Younger women than her have become happy mothers.
    7: When you first encounter something they seem better than they are.
    5: I need to do this alone.
    3: Asking around to know how things are going.

  2. 1) Men have always and will always be deceiving.
    2) I only think of her as a married women.
    3) Asking people questions to see how they are doing.
    4) What should I have for dessert?
    5) I only need to use my dismal sense.
    6) I will jump off this tower if I have to marry that women.
    7) It looked tasty but tasted disgusting.
    8) Women have become happy mothers and some were even younger then her.
    9) No matter the punishment I will not obey you.
    10) Madness in people comes and goes as it pleases.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Number 10 redo.

      10) Madness in people comes and goes as it pleases without you even noticing.

  3. 1) Men have always been deceivers.
    2) She is married to me, and not to my clothes.
    3) I would have to throw grass into the air to know which direction the wind is blowing.
    4) Why is this a dessert?
    5) It's my choice, I need to act alone.
    6) Oh, you can tell me to jump out a window, rather than marry Paris.
    7) Things that seem to be great, have great consequences.
    8) People younger than me have been made into happy mothers.
    9) I can handle more than you can do.
    10) When important people start to show signs of insanity, you have to watch them closely.

  4. Jordan Garland, Period 5:

    1)Men are, and always will be, deceiving.
    2)She's married to me, not my clothes.
    3)In order to tell which direction the wind is blowing, I would have to throw grass up into the air.
    4)Why is this a desert?
    5)It's my choice, I need to do it alone.
    6)I would rather jump out a window, than marry Paris.
    7)Doing things you think would be great, have powerful consequences.
    8)Younger woman than her, have become happy mothers.
    9)I can handle more than you.
    10)When important people start acting insane, pay close attention to them