Dr. Jonathan Hope believes that the key to William Shakespeare's success was not the words that he used, but the way in which he used them. In a chapter in his new book on the English language, Hope finds that the Bard's grammar and word ordering are what set him apart from other writers.
Hope writes, "[Shakespeare's] grammatical skill shows even more dexterity with language. He wrote during a transitional period for English grammar when there was a range of grammatical options open to writers--much of the grammar he chose now seems old--fashioned but it lends poetry to commonplace words and, significantly, while his spelling is often updated, his grammar is not."
More information: Dr Hope's article, Shakespeare and the English Language, appears in an Open University collection, "English in the World: History, Diversity, Change," edited by Philip Seargeant and Joan Swann (Routledge in association with The Open University).