8. William Shakespeare 1564–1616 : The man with the lion’s share of the percentage of votes for greatest writer in English or any language in human history is sure to be the source for quite a few words and phrases now common in his native language. A good 50% of common English phrases come from the King James Bible, and possibly 30% of the rest come from the Bard. If you’ve ever said, “It’s all Greek to me;” “food for the gods;” “all that glitters is not gold;” “a sorry sight;” “dead as a doornail;” “come what may;” “with one fell swoop;” or “all’s well that ends well;” then “by Jove” you’re quoting Shakespeare.