Why you're way more familiar with William Shakespeare's work than you think.

That William Shakespeare is the greatest writer in the history of the English language is basically a foregone conclusion.

His work is some of the most widely read in the world and has been translated into nearly every major language (including Klingon). Over his long career, he wrote dozens of plays and poems that were as varied as they were significant.


Photo by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images.

From gloomy, bloodstained tragedies about flawed, cold-blooded kings to countless quirky comedies about zany misunderstandings, laughable romances, and madcap heroes, the work of Shakespeare is monumental.

As an ode to Shakespeare's work and to commemorate the 400th anniversary of his death, Christie's will auction off four early editions of his collected work in a landmark sale.

The first of these four folios, which contains 36 of his plays, is expected to sell for a generous U.S. $5 million.

Not the most frugal purchase. But it holds some absolutely majestic allure, even for a jaded collector.

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Shakespeare's first folio has been hidden from public view for over 200 years and contains some of the earliest editions of his plays, 18 of which had not been previously published. Owning the first folio is basically like owning an original Picasso with a Babe Ruth rookie card taped to it.

The folios toured New York in April and are currently viewable in England (Shakespeare's birthplace), where they will be auctioned off individually.

“It is deeply moving to handle the first printed record of his collected plays and to be reminded of their tremendous impact,” said Margaret Ford, international head of books and manuscripts for Christie’s.

The other three folios will probably have less obscene price tags, but all of them are extremely marketable. The third folio even has the iconic portrait of Shakespeare done by Martin Droeshout.

Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images.

William Shakespeare changed the English language forever, and his contributions still matter today.

Even if you’ve never read any of his plays or sonnets, you’re still probably familiar with his work. After all, "West Side Story" is based on "Romeo and Juliet," "The Lion King" is based on "Hamlet," and late '90s/mid-'00s teen flicks "10 Things I Hate About You" and "She's the Man" are based on "Taming of the Shrew" and "Twelfth Night," respectively. See? You're a Shakespearian and didn't even know it.

For centuries, Shakespeare has also been credited with inventing or popularizing thousands of words. While there is controversy about whether he actually coined all those words or that dictionary-writers just thought his works most prominently captured the vocabulary of the time, there is no doubt he has helped pepper our culture with some delicious vocables.

Wondering which ones?

Here's a hint: I've used 21 of them in this story alone. Check them out below, along with the first text in which they appeared:

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Kelly Clarkson and Ariana Grande took it a whole step further on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," delivering not only a jaw-dropping live performance but doing so in the form of revolving pop diva hits in an "impossible karaoke" showdown. In less than five minutes, they showed off their combined ability to nail pretty much anything, from imitating iconic singers' styles to belting out well-known songs with their own vocal stylings.

Watch this and try not to be impressed:

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In 1964, Paul McCartney of the Beatles famously sang, “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love.” While Mr. McCartney’s sentiments were definitely a major foreshadowing of the hippie, free-love movement that was to come in the ‘60s, it appears as though he was also onto a big truth that wouldn’t be proven for another 50 years.

Seven years ago, researchers Hugo M. Mialon and Andrew Francis-Tan from Emory University embarked on the first study to determine whether spending a lot on a wedding or engagement ring meant a marriage would succeed or fail.

The pair wanted to see if the wedding industry was being honest when it came to claims that the more money a couple spends, the more likely they are to stay together.

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One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.

This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.

The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.

“Such findings imply that, in order to be adaptive, first impressions of personality or social characteristics should be accurate,” a study published in the journal Intelligence says. “There is accumulating evidence that this is indeed the case—at least to some extent—for traits such as intelligence extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and narcissism, and even for characteristics such as sexual orientation, political ideology, or antigay prejudice.”

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