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Language: Comparing Old and New Words

In this worksheet, students look at some of the vocabulary used in plays, poetry and books from many centuries ago and find a modern equivalent.

'Language: Comparing Old and New Words' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:   Reading

Curriculum subtopic:   Check Understanding

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

When you read texts written a long time ago, such as the works of Shakespeare, it is clear that some words in the English language have changed over time.

 

 

Some are shortened or lengthened, while others change their meaning. Some words from Shakespeare's time have disappeared altogether, and we use a great many new words that he would not recognise at all.

 

Look at the sentences in old English in this exercise and see if you can work out what the underlined words mean in modern English. Try to use the context (the rest of the sentence) to help you choose the correct meaning.

Read this sentence in old English and choose the word (or words) in modern English which you think come closest in meaning to the underlined word.

 

But hark! I hear the footing of a man.

wait!

hurry!

listen!

let's go!

stay there!

Read this sentence in old English and choose the word (or words) in modern English which you think come closest in meaning to the underlined word.

 

In yonder field was the battle won.

the field over there

the biggest field

the corn field

the only field

your field

Read this sentence in old English and choose the word (or words) in modern English which you think come closest in meaning to the underlined word.

 

Verily I say to you, I know not why.

Quietly

Confidentially

Once again

In truth

Each time

Read this sentence in old English and choose the word (or words) in modern English which you think come closest in meaning to the underlined word.

 

Come hither page and hear thy master's voice.

quickly

later

quietly

right away

here

Read this sentence in old English and choose the word (or words) in modern English which you think come closest in meaning to the underlined word.

 

Prithee master, let thy servant speak.

Right now

Please, I beg you

Be fair

Listen carefully

You really ought to

Read this sentence in old English and choose the word (or words) in modern English which you think come closest in meaning to the underlined word.

 

I beseech your grace, pardon the boy.

am telling you now

suggest

respect

beg

order you

Read this sentence in old English and choose the word (or words) in modern English which you think come closest in meaning to the underlined word.

 

In truth thou art the reason for my grief.

that is

he was

you were

they are

you are

This time, match the Shakespearian words with their modern equivalents.

Column A

Column B

thou
indeed
forsooth
over
adieu
are
thy
you
o'er
your
art
goodbye
  • Question 1

Read this sentence in old English and choose the word (or words) in modern English which you think come closest in meaning to the underlined word.

 

But hark! I hear the footing of a man.

CORRECT ANSWER
listen!
  • Question 2

Read this sentence in old English and choose the word (or words) in modern English which you think come closest in meaning to the underlined word.

 

In yonder field was the battle won.

CORRECT ANSWER
the field over there
  • Question 3

Read this sentence in old English and choose the word (or words) in modern English which you think come closest in meaning to the underlined word.

 

Verily I say to you, I know not why.

CORRECT ANSWER
In truth
  • Question 4

Read this sentence in old English and choose the word (or words) in modern English which you think come closest in meaning to the underlined word.

 

Come hither page and hear thy master's voice.

CORRECT ANSWER
here
  • Question 5

Read this sentence in old English and choose the word (or words) in modern English which you think come closest in meaning to the underlined word.

 

Prithee master, let thy servant speak.

CORRECT ANSWER
Please, I beg you
  • Question 6

Read this sentence in old English and choose the word (or words) in modern English which you think come closest in meaning to the underlined word.

 

I beseech your grace, pardon the boy.

CORRECT ANSWER
beg
  • Question 7

Read this sentence in old English and choose the word (or words) in modern English which you think come closest in meaning to the underlined word.

 

In truth thou art the reason for my grief.

CORRECT ANSWER
you are
  • Question 8

This time, match the Shakespearian words with their modern equivalents.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

thou
you
forsooth
indeed
adieu
goodbye
thy
your
o'er
over
art
are
---- OR ----

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