Sadie asked:

How do I understand the language in Pride and Prejudice? I'm 13 and we haven't studied it in school but I would like to read it for fun but I can't understand even the first page! Can someone please help me out!

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Thomas Do you have a phone, Kindle, tablet, or anything that can read eBooks? I would recommend reading Pride and Prejudice as an eBook, because most eReaders/eReader apps come with an inbuilt dictionary. I think that being able to look up words and phrases immediately helped me to enjoy Pride and Prejudice and understand it well, unlike most of my classmates, who ended up hating it because they were frustrated with the writing. I'm 14 years old and I read it this year so age shouldn't be a problem.

As weird as this method sounds, it really worked and for me, has made reading classics fun rather than a chore. Pride and Prejudice is (legally) free to download as an eBook, so why not give it a try?

Whatever you choose to do, I hope that you enjoy Pride and Prejudice; it's such a great book :)
Nada Adel When I first read Pride and Prejudice, I felt really dumb. Writing styles change over time, and can be quite difficult to read smoothly. Do not focus on the individual words but read the whole paragraph and try to grab the general idea of it. What helped a lot while I was reading it, is that I checked online summaries for each chapter, like for example, after reading the first chapter, go to Google and write "Pride and Prejudice chapter 1 summary". There's a website called Shmoop that contains summaries of every chapter of any classic novel. This helped me a lot actually.

Also, I suggest you watch the BBC adaptation tv series that was made in the 1990s. It's very close to the books (don't watch the movies) and very entertaining. It will help you understand who all the different characters are and the language will become more familiar.
Patrycja Szczudlo Hello, Someone mentioned an annotated version of Pride and I have suggested this version to my students: "The Annotated Pride and Prejudice" annotated and edited by David M. Shapard, 2004. This book is set up with the story appearing on the left-hand side of the book and notes and explanations on the right-side.
An awesome book. Dr. Shapard explains the customs and meanings of phrases no longer used today. I hope you can get a copy from your local library but if not, I have seen used copies on Amazon that do not cost a lot.
The only movie that follows the book fairly close is the television version on PBS, filmed in England. Listening to an audio book can be very confusing. I hope this helps.
MaryMorland When I got stuck with this book, I watched the 2005 movie with Keira Knightley in it.
After the movie, I knew the main plot of Pride And Prejudice so I was able to understand the 19th century English.
Also, the movie was pretty good so you should try watching it:)
Allan Gray My daughter struggled on her first go (aged 11). Reluctantly, aged 13, she gave it another go. We read it together, and I stopped regularly after passages of a page or so to recap what had happened. I occasionally would read back the dialogue in more "modern" form, using current vernacular!
I also suggested that she treat the commas in long sentences as full stops (within reason) to break up the sentences. She is now completely hooked on it.
Part way through, we watched the movie - Keira Knightly version - the excellent acting helped her understand the characters foibles better (especially the sisters). My Dad used to think the old BBC mini series was a closer depictin, but having never seen it, I cannot comment.
These all seemed to help - I agree with Nada's comment below about summarizing chapters too.
Brielle I suggest you start first with reading other classic books. It is in this way that I was able to little by little discern and understand classic style of writing. In fact, the first novel that I read (which when i was 12 years old) that eventually made my pitiful self into a bookwork is Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Brontë, which is a classic. I had never yet read a novel until that, and it came to be a first great read. I thought i wouldn't understand it first of all, because it is a classic, but when I started reading it, so on I continued and when I finished the book, I was amazed to find myself to like classics.

So take time with other classic books first until your powers can already take Pride and Prejudice xD

Sally Yes, the BBC series is a good place to start. Audio book also a good way to make the language style more understandable.
Tanmay Tikekar You cud start by watching the BBC Miniseries... Brilliant depiction... It will acquaint you with the language and at the same time provide you with a mental depiction when you get around to reading it... will help in decoding the phrasing...
Chantelle When I read this I was 12 years old, and I, at the time, had become suddenly a bit obsessed with classics. I read Little Women first and I think it sort of warmed me up for Pride and Prejudice. In truth, I didn't understand the first page either. But I just sort of continued to read and I was good after the fist chapter.
Laura I also tried reading this book for the first time when I was 13. The mistake I made was I got frustrated with it because it was in over my head and so I was slightly detoured from the book.

My advice is 1.) Ease your way in with a shorter Georgian novel (The period Pride and Prejudice was written). For example, Jane Austen's last novel "Persuasion" is much shorter and it may help you in starting with a shorter novel. 2.) You can get study guide editions similar to a Shakespearean study guide in which the language is translated into a modern language to help you understand. 3.) You can always wait and read Pride and Prejudice a little later when you can sit down and read it cover to cover. It's admirable that you are so eager to read this book! Hope this helped!
Trinity If you have one, you could read it on a kindle or as an e-book. What I am doing is writing down the words I don't understand, and then when I finish a chapter, I look up what the words mean. And I know how your feeling, I'm reading it as a ten year-old.
Adrian Waller This is my favorite book. I read it for the first time when I was 12 for fun and it really helped me to keep a dictionary by my side so I could translate any words I didn't know. You could also ask your parents what a word means if you don't feel like looking it up. I love this book and have read it at least once year since I first read it. (I'm 15 now) I hope you enjoy it!
Jacqueline Arica I just finished an annotated version of the book. I laughed when my husband brought it home for me from the library, but the annotations helped a lot. Maybe you can find an annotated copy at your library. The only drawback was that several of the annotations contained spoilers, but not to the biggest events of the book, so to me it was worth it.
Sharon Quite frankly, I still have difficulties understanding some of the language in this book (and I'm 18). If you really do want to read it, try using SparkNotes. Try reading one chapter first, and get a general idea of what is going on, and THEN, use SparkNotes to clarify. You might now know word for word, but you at least will get a better idea of what is going on. SparkNotes is not perfect and can be vague (and some people find it lame), but just try it out if you really do not have a single clue of what the book is saying. And I for one used religiously on a few of the vocabulary.
Hao Try an annotated version, it really helps. I tried reading it's non-annotated version a few months ago and I experience the same problem, so I decided to restart the book with an annotated version. The version I read paraphrased a lot of complicated sentences so I could finish it under a week (I'm reading this book as a 14 yo). Another good thing about an annotated version is that it explains the custom and laws of the 1810s so the action and jokes of the book made a lot more sense.
Vennila Vani Hi Sadie,
I suggest you to read psychopathic love story. It gives the same feel as in pride and prejudice, But PLS is written in so simple words. i hope you'll enjoy it.
Rick Connor I'm reading an annotated version on my Kindle. It takes a little longer but you get great insight into the language and customs of the period as well as some explanations regarding why various characters say and do certain things. And the further you go in the book, the less you need to rely on the included notes on the text.
Jasey I would recommend the annotated version. I'm a 12 year old who decided to see what all the fuss about this book was, and this is a great, wonderful book and all, there's a lot of subtle humor. But the type of speech is rather hard to adjust to. The annotated version is twice as thick, but usually it'll explain what the character's words mean. Happy reading!
Lady Margaret Reading a classic can require patience and focus that's for sure. Using an audio book can really help if you don't have much experience with the period or culture you are reading about. But after a short time you will be surprised by how much you begin to understand. Stay positive and persistent and if things get too dicey, walk away from it for a day and then begin again. Good luck to all you readers out there expanding your horizons! It's a beautiful journey!
Lisa Hi Sadie, I hope that you have given this a bash, because it is an enjoyable read.

Someone mentioned reading it in ebook format with the help of the integrated dictionary.

This is a very good idea, but if you don't have an e-reader or mobile device capable of reading it, I'd suggest the real book format with the use of a dictionary.

I have a university degree in Literature and I still look up words. The dictionary is your friend, so don't be afraid to use it - that's what it's for!

Don't rush the book either. If there's a page you don't understand, just keep reading it until you do. There's no hurry, and you'll enjoy it more.

You'll also find that doing it this way builds up your vocabulary and that in the coming pages a lot of the new words are reused so by then you will know what they mean and won't need to look up as much.

Good luck, and enjoy! :-)
Susan When I first read Jane Austen's books, I found it easier to read them all together. Once you get in the mindset of her time, you will find it easier to understand her writing. Find books with annotations. you will get instant explanations of the unfamiliar terms. My favorite is Persuasion. A good starting point as it's the shortest.
ᏒIᎪ I first read this at the age of 11 and didn't have too much trouble understanding this. Maybe you should start with more recent classics like I Capture The Castle or Anne of Green Gables or something similar. You'll eventually get used to the language. It would also help to watch one of the movie adaptations (I prefer the 6-hour BBC one, but it's better after reading) maybe the shortest from 2005 to understand the story and visualize to get what they're saying before reading the book.
Hana P.B. I think there are simple English versions you can find online. Just like Shakespeare I am not sure though try searching for it.
Jasmine Booth I was 12 when I read it and I think it becomes easier to understand if you watch some period-era films first as you can hear how its meant to sound, when the words are used, what the items are etc.
S.J. Tyson The hardback version that I have, which was published as part of The Peebles Classic Library (Peebles Press International, Inc.), includes an Introduction that outlines many of the language differences. It is very helpful in explaining meanings, and differences in meaning, of certain words of that time.
Jinx Murphy As with most classic books, the writing style takes some getting used to because we are not used to it. I'm 27 and even I have some trouble with it. But, as with other classics, I just persevere and at about the middle of the book I begin to understand the writing and it's a piece of cake from there. I am sure that, by the end, I will be glade that I stuck through it.
Kelly Brigid ♡ Well, I'm 13 and understand it perfectly fine, but if you can't understand it, you should (like Thomas was saying) read it on an e-book reading device (a Kindle, tablet, phone..etc) so you can look up the words you don't understand. If you can't get the ebook version of Pride and Prejudice, then you can always read the paperback and look up the words on a mobile device if you have one (everyone's gotta love Google).

If you still don't understand it, I recommend you try reading it again in a few years.
Ciera Also, sometimes if you read a knock-off or spin-off type book like Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg it can help you understand the plot and get you past those first couple of chapters. That said, Pride and Prejudice is a different story than Prom and both are fantastic, but Pride is way better. :)
Mel Leigh Ask your local library if they have a copy with a translation. I work in a library and we have a couple copies of this book here where they have the definitions of the words and translations to what they are saying on the bottom of the page and the next page. I highly recommend it. It's great you want to read it! It's a really good book!
Apoorva I read it for the first time when I was 13, but didn't appreciate it. I'd suggest you try an abridged version if you're too keen, or delay reading it until you're older. I reread P & P when I was 17, fell in LOVE with it and haven't fallen out since.
Maya O'Dell As a couple of others have pointed out, my biggest suggestion is to watch the 2005 movie "Pride and Prejudice" starring Kiera Knightley or, even better, the 1995 miniseries "Pride and Prejudice" starring Colin Firth. Not only are they both beautiful and enthralling movies, but they give great overviews of the storyline and characters, which I found to be the hardest part of deciphering when I first tried to read the book. The miniseries is long, but it follows the storyline very exactly, and includes all of the characters and their traits, so it prepares you really well for diving into the book with great background knowledge. Of course, it does spoil the ending, but it's very helpful in actually being able to get through the book!
Emma I was 10 (almost turning 11), when I first started Pride and Prejudice, and it was a bit difficult to understand and comprehend completely. I printed an online glossary of the words (from and an ordinary dictionary, and they helped, so I recommend it. The writing in many Jane Austen books is just like this, but it is a very prettyish and lovely way of writing (I may be prejudiced, because I don't like any novels that are not classics).
Over time, I got used to it, and it is a such a beautiful book, so please read it.
if you do not want to, however, you can read something similar, like Northanger Abbey
Liv O'Bryant They have a lot of websites that sort of "translate" what they are trying to say.
Dani Sadie, I bear glad tidings of an event which is, unhappily, seven years too late for your thirteen-year-old self but most fortuitous for current and future readers in a similar predicament:

Laura Wood has adapted Pride and Prejudice in a wonderful way: by reducing it to 100 pages and reordering a few lines here and there she has managed to produce a book that is a perfect stepping stone to the original and a great book in its own right!

That first page, and first chapter, for example: she’s moved the complex opening line to a few paragraphs further, allowing Lizzy to say it in gentle mockery of her mother and in collusion with her father. This fits perfectly with Lizzie’s character and her relationship with her father and, in any case, Jane Austen’s narrator was already ‘ channelling’ Lizzie.

So the story and the characters are unspoilt, the language is still a bit challenging to modern readers but in a much more manageable way. I would still recommend an e-book or a handy dictionary, but this won’t break the flow as often as with the original.

Plus, the original will still be waiting for you when you’re done, and you’ll get the humour much quicker after reading this version.

It’s published by Barrington Stoke, who I confess I had never heard of before but apparently they do a lot to make books accessible for dyslexics, among other things. I will definitely look out for more of their books after reading this one!
Veronica Zieman I personally like to use adaptations or Sparknotes in situations like this. I'll either watch an adaptation before reading so I am familiar with the general plot and don't get lost, or I read Sparknotes summaries of each chapter after reading it so I can better understand what I just read. I'm 23 and just used the Sparknotes method on Dorian Gray so this is something I've been doing for a while and it works pretty well for me.

Also remember that there is no pressure to read a book you simply don't like. There are a lot of books that are talked about as required reading, but not everyone has to enjoy them. That doesn't make you less smart or a bad reader, it just means that the writing style isn't for you and that's fine! You can still enjoy the movie, story, or general idea without being required to read the book. We're all here to have fun and there's no point in forcing yourself to read a book you don't like just because everyone says you have to.
Amal I'm 12 and now I'm reading this book!
Grace Haha, I feel you! I read it last year (I'm thirteen as well), and I found it a great challenge. Personally, whenever I had trouble with the language, I asked my family about it or looked it up in a dictionary! I'd spend hours at my desk with my copy, a dictionary and a notebook where I kept track of the definitions, lol. I found it a good way to learn knew words and vocabulary. Hope this helps! By the way, I absolutely LOVE this book!
Fran The annotated version is really helpful. I would try that one out. It helps a lot. :) Good luck - I hope you understand it better now!
The movie also helps to understand it (The one with Keira Knightley), and discussing the book with others helps also.
☆Radiya☆ When I read this I was 14 years old and it wasn't too hard. Occasionally I had to reread some paragraphs but other than that it was alright. You should watch the movie to get an idea of the book then it would be easier to understand the plot. Or maybe the Audiobook would help
marydeg I totally understand. I thought it was really hard to read the first time I tried. I ended up just having it on my bookshelf for over a year until I tried again. I think anyone who wants to read it, but doesn't know how, should find an audiobook. The audiobook I found was on Hoopla, and it really helped me understand the context. When you listen to it, you can hear the tone of the voice, and it helps you understand what a character is trying to say even if they're saying it in a way that was only understandable 200 years ago.
Medea I read it through for the first time when I was 12 or so, and I couldn't understand a word. I read it again a year later, and I absolutely loved it. I think rather than getting hung up on individual words, try to get a sense of the general meaning based on the context and other hints. I've read it so many times now that I'm pretty good at interpreting the language. It gets easier to interpret the language as you continue reading the book. An audiobook version might help. Or, if you'd like to connect it with a modern day adaptation, maybe you could try the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which is a YouTube webseries. It's a pretty interesting adaptation of the story in the modern day and it might make it easier for you the read the book if you can connect what happens with its equivalent in the modern day.
tamamea Watch the movie, then read the book. Also do what a couple of people on here have said, and read it on an ebook so you can look up words. Finally, your allowed to skip things. Don't feel to attached to understanding it in one go. I read it five or six times and the first time, I started in the middle skipped to the end and then effectively read backwards. In other words, get a good dictionary and relax.
Taylor it helps to watch the show or movie, especially with someone who knows what's going on. Yes, this will spoil things, but the book is still really great and now you can understand it.
Lynn Evans I also struggled with the language. Watch the BBC productions (60s and 90s). Skip the Keira Knightley (too modernized). Read it again in a few years. You will find a completely different and enjoyable book. For a comedic take, read Bridget Jones's Diary and figure out who is who.
Alemka Mitar Well, I read it when I was already grown up and after I had seen BBC adaptation. English is not my native language but I had no trouble reading. I guess if one is not native speaker you should think in english when you read in english. The biggest mistake for a forigner is trying to translate it as you read...It leads nowhere...
Inés Aldazabal I would recommend you to go with an annotated edition, and also to try reading it in group
annie I would watch the BBC version first, and when you are reading it, you can see the characters and understand what they are trying to convey
Sue I’d recommend watching the Kiera Knightly movie version to get a handle on the time, characters, plot and dialogue in context. It is worth the effort!
JANE You've gotten a lot of answers, to be sure. But both the older BBC series and the series with Colin Firth are hugely better than the Keira Knightley version, which I think is lightweight. I hope you will watch at least the Colin Firth version. It is outstanding, and really does justice to the actual book.
I do want to correct the assertion that Pride and Prejudice is set in the Georgian period - it is not. It is set in the Regency period, during which Jane Austen lived. Also, I don't think Shakespeare is much help here - he wrote in Middle English, in the late 1500s to early 1600s. English changed a lot in the 200 years between Shakespeare and Jane Austen.
Nehir Well, I read that book when I'm 11 and I mostly understood it. But I didn't read the one that you read, I read it in Turkish but it was still kind of difficult.
Rhonda Troutman I think reading Little Women is a good idea - less complex. Also reading on the Kindle with the dictionary built in help a lot. Also read Sense and Sensibility. Another good one.
Elah While my answer to this question which was asked four years ago will hardly be of help now, I will answer for any other people seeking advice on the same or similar matter. I am currently 14 and have just finished the book. I highly suggest listening to the audio book! I too had trouble understanding the old style of writing, and the audio book was most enjoyable! I just finished listening to it, and I love it! Here is the link for the audio book below:
Janaki I'm 12 and I just recently finished Pride and Prejudice. I recommend watching the BBC production of it, which you can find on Amazon Prime, as it is closest to the real book. You could also read the Sparknotes on it. After you are done with that, you can read an abridged version or straight jump to the unabridged version. I would recommend reading the Annotated Version of it as it has a lot of referenced which clarify things which we may not know about the time period. Just saying, it is like the coolest book, better that Harry Potter (although I've read the series 31 times, no exaggeration) and you'll grow to love all the characters! I find the atmosphere of the book calming and exciting at the same time!
Barb J Stick with it and eventually you'll grow to understand it. Like all truly great classics, it is well worth the effort.
Marie You get used to it after the first chapter or so ;-)
Marta Hy i have read pride and pregjudice the first time when i was 13. a lot of people told me that it was a difucoult book. But i have loved it to the first page! so I think you can read it!

sorry for my english but i'm not english
Gabi Martins I'm from Brazil and I just read it in English. I won't lie to you... I couldn't understand some words. If you really have time and patience, you can use a dictionary. But I didn't. So I just kept going along and I could understand pretty much of the story evolution from the context. Great story. Loved the book. Finished it in less than 2 weeks. However, I inted to read it again in portuguese someday.
Mary Christine Hello Sadie! I appreciate how persevere you are in reading classic novels like Jane Austen's work Pride and Prejudice. Readers like your age are more likely get bored rather than enjoy these classic novels. I would suggest that you read Pride and prejudice in Children Version (Please don't feel bad about my suggestion, these books make it easy for teenagers like you to understand the complexity of words used by the author.) Hope you enjoy reading!
Thanu32400 Something you can do to understand the book is using your knowledge of prefixes and suffixes in the English language. I am only 12 but I was able to figure it out. I've loved the book and read it 3 times

here are some old English words that are commonly used throughout the book:

thy - synonym for 'your'
thee- a synonym for 'you'
thine- a synonym for 'yours'
thou - a synonym for you
Lian Celestino Try asking someone else to explain - or heck, use the Internet.
By the way, kudos to you! I also read Pride and Prejudice at twelve, just for fun! Then again, I'm a girl who reads Madeleine L'Engle and Rick Riordan all the time so I'm a bit unusual. I understood most of it the first time, but again, I'm weird.
So try untangling phrases at a time. "It is a truth universally acknowledged'... okay, so that means everyone knows it's the truth. '...that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.' Okay, that means a well-off single dude should get married! Now just untangle all the phrases this way and it'll work out. By the time you get to the sparring of Elizabeth and Darcy, you'll understand enough to enjoy it.
Or watch the movies online first. That worked for me when I struggled to wade through Austen's word flood. Seeing the 1995 BBC episode while I read was helpful. I suggest you watch an episode, then read as far as the episode extends, then watch the next one, and so on. Just read the last part before you watch episode 6, because it's just... well. You'll see.
There are just so many ways to get through original text. Ask other people, use the Internet, take advantage of the media, so many!
Maivy Le I'm 13 as well, but I understood it fine! What I'm thinking is that you simply haven't met the reading level that Pride and Prejudice requires, so give it some time and read some less challenging books while you're at it. In a matter of time, you'll find that understanding this piece will come easy to you!
Lucian A good idea if you don't understand the language, is to watch a few interpretations of it. I am usually against watching movies before books, but for wordy books, like this one this really helps, so you can understand the basic plot. This really helped when I first read "Pride and Prejudice" Plus as you continue reading the language gets easier. The best interpretation is the 1995 BBC and Masterpiece six-part mini series. Although, if you want more modern very simple language, you might go for the "Lizzie Bennett Diary's" which you can find on Youtube.
Cheryl Currie I like for reading Shakespeare to my granddaughter, Pride and Prejudice, or Scarlett Letter, etc. They give the modern version right next to the original. Eventually, she gets what certain words and phrases are.
Karen J Ehrstine Read very slowly, and use a dictionary. This will be tedious at first, but you will get faster as you go along. Dont think of it as a story to read for fun, but maybe go in with a mindset you would have when reading a school book. ask yourself questions such as, "what does this mean?" . Also, watch the movie first: the BBC version of the film starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. Then you will know the plotline. The BBC version practically quotes the book word for word, and i found it incredibly helpful when i wanted to read the book. Pay close attention to the characters that the first few chapters will introduce so that you do not become confused later. watching the movie will help tremendously with that. good luck. its a beautiful story.
Leigh Regan Hauserman I've also feared this same thing, but also wanted to read it for fun. One thing I've learned through many English classes, that I found really helpful is to take notes. What I am doing is in my journal, I take notes by each chapter. I sum it up, as well as note any important lines, dialogue, and plot points. An Example : Elizabeth visits Jane at Netherfield, while Jane is Ill. Elizabeth sits with Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst. Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley soon join. Miss Bingley instantly notices Mr. Darcy, and spents the majority of the night trying to earn his attention away from Elisabeth. It is safe to say she fancies him. This might explain her hostility towards Elizabeth.
It helps to take it slow. have a dictionary app on your phone or something to make looking up words quick. It also might help to get a Sparknotes guide. It really helps me, when I've read a paragraph numerous times, and still can't understand. And most importantly, it's okay to take your time. It's a hard book. We aren't used to the language. It's amazing that you're interested in trying. good luck.
Dhanya I remember reading this almost a decade ago. That time I kept my pocket dictionary handy and would write down meanings of words on a paper. But I had to consult a big dictionary too as I couldn't find all the words in the pocket dictionary.

I suggest you take the help of internet. Either read as eBook or google difficult words and note them down. Several words are repeated so you dont want to search again and again for the same thing.
Libby Patton Sadie, I hope that you've read it and maybe even reread it by now! You received lots of good advice here and I think we'd love to hear an update!

I didn't read Austen until my 30s and am jealous that you'll have more time to enjoy her books. My favorite is Persuasion.

I have the David Shapard annotated copies of many Austens and I highly recommend them. The English language grows and changes (not to mention the differences between the UK and American versions of English), and Mr. Shapard clarifies these differences for the modern reader. His annotations are on the page opposite Austen's text, so there's no flipping back and forth needed.

I would also encourage you to reread Austen as you grow. Upon first reading Pride and Prejudice, I thought it was a romance. Now I believe it to be social satire with romance as background.

Many people have recommended viewing it before reading it. I love the 1995 Colin Firth version. It is the truest adaptation. It is my favorite. But the Keira Knightley version is good, too (except for the ending which is atrocious and doesn't fit the book at all).

Best wishes to you!
SK There is an amazing webseries based off it called Lizzie Bennet Diaries. If you watch it before reading, it can help you understand the events of P&P. Obviously it's not a perfect modernization, but it's what got me into Pride and Prejudice in the first place. You can find it here:
Belinda Vela Get the audio form. I read the book the book like that. It becomes easier.
Anya I first read Pride and Prejudice at 13, and I admit that I found it quite difficult to get through the book. However, after (just barely finishing it, I read a wide plethora of classics for about a year. A year later, I reread it, and found that it made much more sense than it had at 13. Hope this helps!
Zoe I had not studied this book in school either, but I found a publication of the book that had definitions to some of the words that are not used in today's society. Like, fortnight or felicity. This helped me understand and enjoy the book much greater.
TJ Rogers I kept a dictionary by me when I read it & wrote down the words & meanings as they often re-occur. Then read paragraph as a whole to grasp the full understanding. Commentaries are often helpful too.
The difficulty of classical literature is of course the language; our language is becoming so limited in modern times many words disappearing from our vocabulary sadly.
Courtney Perkins The way I learned what they were saying was the first time I read the book I looked up things I did not understand. I took my time reading the book and tried to fully comprehend what the book was trying to say. Now I am 18 and I can read the book much faster and understand what I am reading. I can now enjoy my book so that was what I did. I do recommend trying that.
Lin I remember trying to read it and feeling the same at 11 (it wasn't fast-paced enough and the language was archaic and Harry Potter was a lot more inviting). It was only until I picked it up again when I was 15 that I really got into it and enjoyed it. I think it's just one of those books that you have to be at a certain stage to read. Give it a while and then pick it up again and you may be able to make more progress with it!
Teresa English is not my native language, so I read the summary of each chapter in grade saver after I had read the chapter. It helped get the gist of it.
Tea I'm thirteen too but I understand the book perfectly, so I would recommend using the glossary at the back. Most of the published penguin classic books do. Hope this helps! :D
Felicia I read this when I was ten and, like you, had absolutely no idea what was going on. Then I read it again, and got more of the idea. The third time really got me interested.
I also got help because my mom is a huge fan and explained to me parts I didn't understand.
I would suggest to maybe watch the first episode of the TV show (I know, I know, movies aren't as good as the books) just to get a good feel of the characters and the setting.
Zain Ahmed Take your time and if you feel like you don't know what's going on, watch the adaptations along with it.
Deborah I highly recommend watching the A & E version. I watched it as an adult and then, finally, read and enjoyed the book.
Clara I think it also takes patience, maybe you can spend some time with it, and decipher every sentence, 2 chapters like that and you'll get the hang of it :)
Freyja I recommend audio-books even if it's just to get you into the rhythm of the language.
Librivox does audio-books out of copyright. I found this version of pride and prejudice is my favourite.
Jenine it's alright, I'm 13 and we are studying it in school. in my opinion it's not for our age to understand it. so my advice to you is wait until you grow up too 15 or so :):)
Nana See one of the movies, then read the books!
Danielle Listen to the audio book. It'll change your life and the way you understand this book. If you're studying it for school you can pause it between chapters and skim the pages so you can look at the words as well.
Emma Human try using an audio book and if you get stuck on a part just go to spark notes or watch the movie or tv series to explian what has just happened in the book
Sheryl Sadie, by now you may have read P&P. But just in case you have not, let me tell you that even a 60+ year old has found the language style challenging. I am determined to reading it however and I'm currently finishing it by reading it as I listen along on a CD. The reader is quite entertaining and if I miss something, I pause the CD and re-read the section. Good luck--it is a good book.
Michael I keep Sparknotes open on my phone while reading the ebook on a reader. I read ahead on the chapter summaries and commentary in Sparknotes, and then read the chapter in the book. The summaries help me understand what's going on, while the actual text gives the flavor and humor of the writing.
This technique got me through The Count of Monte Cristo as well. Some people might not like "spoiling" the future chapter but I don't mind it. You can also read Sparknotes after you finish the chapter but you might miss stuff. GOOD LUCK!
Andrea I look up unfamiliar words as I go and pause to think about what is going on. Often I have to re-read a few sentences. Even though the writing may seem archaic, I sometimes think the way they formed their sentences made more sense and was easier to understand! It definitely takes some effort, but it is worth it. I think it gets easier to understand as you go.

Good question, and I'm glad you're trying to read a classic at your age :)
Keith Try reading a summary of each chapter and skip the words you don't know!
J.J I hope you got around to reading this book in the end... but if you havent and is still faced with this dilemma id recommend you to read the Macmillan's abridged version of it first. It really helps!
Katie Try listening to an audiobook version! Listening to someone who understands the language read it to you can help you understand the context of the words and, as a result, the words themselves. Also, don't try too hard to understand everything exactly. Just keep moving through the story and your brain might start to adjust.
Laura Cruz I had that problem with all Jane Austen's novel as well, the thing is I am mexican and even though I study english since I was 6, it is difficult to understand the expressions and the grammar.
To understand it first I read it in spanish, then I watch the movie a couple of times (but I recommend you the series of 1995 because it is just like the book) and then I read it in english in my Kindle so I could consult the dictionary any time. That helped me to understand that complicated language and now I can read persuasion, sense & sensibility with no problem.
Jessica Cotten I had difficulty with the language as well. It gets better the further you are into it. It's almost like you are becoming fluent in Jane Austen as a second language. I couldn't read it at first, but then I watched the movie, with Keira Knightley, over and over again. I watch it every week & usually multiple times a week. Watch it with subtitles so you can understand the way they speak. Then I would read the book very slowly and dissect the language as you go. It is a wonderful work with new surprises every time I read it!
Xinyu English is not my first language, and I feel tremendously difficult to understand the book.
❁ Louisa when i first started reading this book i felt like soo stupid and that i have no level in english but i finally heard about the film so i watched it and i understood all the story then i started to read it again and i had no problem
Laura Hi!
look, i would recommend you read this as an ebook so you can help yourself by defining the words.
I am 15 and english is not my native language but i did find it very easy to read. The only thing you have to do is define the words by context, that will ease things up :)
Jamie Martinez Try a combination of the ebook and an audible version. has it for free. I recommend Pride and Prejudice version 4 read by Elizabeth Klett. She does an wonderful reading. Sometimes, hearing it aloud helps to understand the written word a little easier. And you can replay any "speeches" you have trouble with, over and over.
I admire you for looking to the classics and you won't be disappointed, just keep on trying. I had the same issues with reading Homer, it took me 4 tries to really understand and then enjoy the book. Now Homer is right on up there with Jane Austen in my favorite author list.
Hana AT the moment i am reading pride and prejudice for an ISU and im 15 :). i agree the language is hard but i am reading the manga at the same time so i can understand the situation better so i would read a few chapters then read a few chapters from the manga and back and forth.
Jessica Ive found that listening to the audiobook by itself works, because its easier to pick up the speech pattern and difference of dialect. If that doesn't work, watch on of the Pride and Prejudice movies. That will help you understand what's happening as you try to concentrate on the words.
Addison Dixon Haha! Same thing happened with me . . . even though I was about 15 at the time. Nevertheless, we hadn't studied it at my school till about two years ago. Maybe you should get the Annotated version, which helped me. :) Besides, you could always read it again when you're a little older, and then by that time, you might understand it better.
But it is a very good book! It definitely gives you a feel for the era.
Lilly Try reading the book while simultaneously listening to the audio book. I tried to read P&P but couldn't get past the first two pages so having it narrated to me assisted me to read it through. (The British speaking narrator was sometimes difficult to understand so this is why I followed the audio along with the book). Then I watched on DVD the 1995 TV mini series starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. This version most closely follows the book. I enjoyed the movie so much I listened and read P&P again!! It's one of my favorites now! Doing it this way may help you :)
Rahma.k Youssef I read this book and i studied in the school and if you want to tell you about it i don't hv a proplem
Sofie I tried to read Pride and Prejudice when I was your age too... it didn't work out. I don't know if it was that my copy was too old or that my reading skill wasn't high enough but my suggestion is to pick a different book and read this one when you're older. Or you could try another copy. I read pride and prejudice this year, I'm 16, and I loved it. Had I read that other copy when I was 13 I don't think I would have.
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