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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 31 March 2005
This book is like having your old English teacher at your side to comment on words you have difficulties with. - For any word in Shakespeare it gives the possible different meeanings and quotes the play(s) in which the word is used.
The book has lots of other useful features including a complete list of all characters' names, explanations of the references to classical mythology, geographical locations and 6* go to the synopses of each play with the diagrams of the characters.
It is a perfect companion for any Shakespeare lover.
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This is basically a dictionary of Shakespeare. It is well laid out, easy to use and informative. It gives definitions for all the words you may come across in the text which you are struggling with. It also gives meanings to words which have changed over the years and which we might read differently to a contemporary of Shakespeare.

You might think that you don't need this because if you have a good copy of the play text it will give you a glossary with it. I have however recently been studying Taming of the Shrew, using a highly recommended play text, and not all the words were included in the glossary. I also found that as words are often quite nebulous it was interesting to look them up both in the play glossary and Crystal's book because they sometimes differ slightly and enrich my understanding.

There are several other useful features of this book. Each definition offers examples from the plays in which they are used, which can be great for comparison purposes, even if the play quoted is not the one you are reading. There are also mini lessons on certain styles of speaking contemporary with the time, and a potted history of each play.

This is not an inexpensive book, it is however, what I would class as an invaluable book for those serious about understanding Shakespeare and wanting to get the most out of his language.
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on 7 April 2017
An incredibly detailed book for all Shakespeare aficionados. Incredible value for money.
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on 18 May 2017
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on 12 November 2013
I bought this for my daughter who is studying drama and she said it is a very helpful book and gives her further knowledge in this area.
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on 4 July 2009
Professor David Crystal and Ben Crystal have carved THE Shakespeare Bible! A glossary which outshines in its meticulous trimness, neatness and accuracy. In a profoundly responsible manner, the authors carefully gloss each and every word in Shakespearean English which may arouse miscomprehension or ambiguity of context. All the polysemantic words are neatly cited with clear references to the particular contexts. So, the great merit of this enormous enterprise is that it does not impersonally state the word meanings in Shakespeare - but displays an extremely accurate context-centered approach to studying Shakespearean lexicon. Which is an indispensable help to a student of Shakespeare's language and a student of Shakespeare's literature. The contexual meanings of the cited words - in the very play, the very scene and the very speech - shed light both on any undertaken linguistic exploration into the Bard's language and on an intimate understanding of Shakespeare's masterpieces by an audience, an actor and a Bardaholic!

Yes, it need be mentioned that there are synopses, and helpful circles of the plays to clarify who is who to whom and wonderful appendices of classical mythology names, folklore, dialects and other specific nuances illuminating Shakespeare's texts.
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on 31 May 2005
As someone who is only just being introduced to teaching Basic & Key Skills I have already found this book invaluable. I have had it a short time but already referred to it on several occasions whilst undertaking my own course work and homework. I thought I was good at grammar but this puts the rules and general grammar details in to a way that is so easy to follow. It all makes more sense to me now.
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on 20 December 2010
An excellent book for anyone interested in grammar as it's used. Crystal has a direct and accessible style, wearing his considerable learning very lightly. This is both a useful reference book, for those wanting to check up the difference between participles and particles, as well as being a handy guide for those wanting an introduction to English grammar to aid their own writing.
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on 3 January 2007
An incredibly informative and user-friendly guide, not just to the language of Shakespeare, but to the English Language as a whole in the 16th and early 17th centuries.

Not only does the glossary explain specific words of difficulty it also encorporates the many different ways that Shakespeare, (and many of his contemporaries) used grammar. Crystal includes a short summary of 39 of Shakespeare's plays, and detailed diagrams show the different social networks of the characters in each.

David Crystal has excelled himself yet again, creating a reference for a wide audience; as this like many of his books is written and set out in a style which is both user-friendly and academic.

Definatly worth the money and the time to read. This is a book that you will go back to again and again!
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on 18 September 2000
I am currently studying A-Level English at college. I originally borrowed this book from my tutor to help me with my work as I was having problems when it came to literary analysis. The book goes into great depth in explaining the rules of English Grammar and its complexities in a clear and concise format, which I personally found easy to understand. I have read and used other books as a point of reference, such as 'Grammar Structure and Style' by Shirley Russell but I found that they were too complex to use as a quick tool and although the latter is another excellent book, when it comes to ranking them for ease of use, the book by Shirley Russell does not even come close. I would recommend this book to anybody who is having difficulties with English grammar or anybody who simply wants to correct the grammar that they use in day-to-day life. This book is also useful for those who are learning a foreign language and are having difficulties in relating the grammar of the new language to that of their own. This is something that I have experienced first hand. Overall, I would recommend anybody who wants help with grammar to purchase this book as it is one of the best that I have seen.
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