Sentence structure tips from William Shakespeare

creative writing English expository writing
By Musa

Statistical Mediation & Moderation in Psychological Research-Jan-26-2021-07-22-18-89-PMGood writers always plant important words in strong positions. 

Shakespeare has a writing hack that helps underscore key content. He often places the most important word(s) at the end of a line of verse. Let’s take a look at Prospero’s speech from the Tempest as a good example

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, 

As I foretold you, were all spirits and 

Are melted into air, into thin air; 

And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, 

The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, 

The solemn temples, the great globe itself, 

Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, 

And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, 

Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff 

As dreams are made on, and our little life 

Is rounded with a sleep. 

The last word or phrase of each line of verse crystallizes the main idea of the entire passage. Shakespeare does this so well that you only need to read the ends of the lines to understand what is happening in the speech: Actors…all spirits and…into thin air…of this vision…the gorgeous palaces…great globe itself…shall dissolve…insubstantial pageant faded…such stuff…our little life…a sleep. 

Neat trick, right? 

You can apply Shakespeare’s trick with end words and phrases in verse to your own prose. Think of the beginnings and ends of clauses and sentences as prime real estate, conspicuous places to park crucial terms. Using keywords as tent poles to nail down sentences powerfully guides your reader’s attention. Consistent strategic positioning of core terms is subtly persuasive. Done well, it will feel as if each unit of language ends with a click.


Cambridge Coaching was founded by doctoral candidates in English, and instruction in reading and writing is one of our particular strengths. Our tutors are published authors, as well as Ph.D candidates from the top English graduate programs in America, with most hailing from Harvard or the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop--or both.

We have a long history of helping high school, college, and graduate students become more astute critical readers and writers capable of producing their own polished academic essays. Many of our students come to us looking for help with basic composition or reading comprehension, but our expert tutors have coached our clients through everything from business English to doctoral dissertations. Whether you need to learn how to tell a participle from a pronoun, or need help making sense of Shakespeare, we can design a syllabus to suit your specific goal.

Contact us!

Up close and personal: how to prepare for a close reading paper

How To Read a Poem

Betwixt and between: difficult grammar rules explained


academics study skills MCAT medical school admissions SAT expository writing college admissions English MD/PhD admissions GRE GMAT LSAT chemistry writing strategy math physics ACT biology language learning test anxiety graduate admissions law school admissions MBA admissions interview prep homework help creative writing AP exams MD study schedules summer activities history personal statements academic advice career advice premed philosophy secondary applications Common Application computer science organic chemistry ESL PSAT economics grammar test prep admissions coaching law statistics & probability supplements psychology SSAT covid-19 legal studies 1L CARS logic games reading comprehension Spanish USMLE calculus dental admissions parents research Latin engineering verbal reasoning DAT excel mathematics political science French Linguistics Tutoring Approaches chinese DO MBA coursework Social Advocacy academic integrity case coaching classics diversity statement genetics geometry kinematics medical school skills IB exams ISEE MD/PhD programs PhD admissions algebra astrophysics athletics biochemistry business business skills careers data science letters of recommendation mental health mentorship quantitative reasoning social sciences software engineering trigonometry work and activities 2L 3L Academic Interest Anki EMT English literature FlexMed Fourier Series Greek Italian Pythagorean Theorem STEM Sentence Correction Zoom algorithms amino acids analysis essay architecture argumentative writing art history artificial intelligence cantonese capacitors capital markets cell biology central limit theorem chemical engineering chromatography climate change clinical experience cold emails community service constitutional law curriculum dental school distance learning enrichment european history finance first generation student fun facts functions gap year harmonics health policy history of medicine history of science information sessions institutional actions integrated reasoning intern international students internships investing investment banking logic mandarin chinese mba meiosis mitosis music music theory neurology operating systems phrase structure rules plagiarism poetry pre-dental presentations proofs pseudocode school selection simple linear regression sociology software study abroad teaching tech industry transfer typology units virtual interviews writing circles