What Is “Alliteration”?
- Alliteration is a literary device in which the first consonant sound of two or more words appearing next to (or near) each other are the same. The Wicked Witch of the West is an example of alliteration.
- When writing an alliteration, you must focus on the sound the letters make, not just the letter itself. For example, great gorilla is an alliteration, but giant gorilla is not.
What Does Alliteration Mean?
Alliterations are a rhetorical device in which an initial consonant sound is repeated in consecutive or nearby words. The following sentence is alliterative:
Harry handled horrible homework happily.
This type of literary device is also referred to as initial rhyme or head rhyme. Remember, the words with repetitive consonant sounds can be, but don’t have to be, right next to each other. They can also be separated by a few words, like in this stanza found in Maya Angelou’s poem Caged Bird:
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.
Keep in mind that alliterations depend on the sound the letter makes and not just the letter itself. Consider the following examples:
Although the words start with different letters, cool koala is an alliteration because the initial sound is the same /k/. Conversely, caring charity is not an alliteration because the beginning sounds are different: /’k/ and /’tʃ/.
What Are Some Examples of Alliteration?
The effectiveness of alliteration is not a secret. That’s why so many brands incorporate them into their name, slogans, or advertisements. Here are a few examples of well-known brands that use alliteration:
- Best Buy
- Bed, Bath, & Beyond
- Dunkin' Donuts
- Grey Goose
- Krispy Kreme
- Lulu Lemon
Some example sentences that include alliteration are:
- The golden goose ganders gracefully.
- The mean monkey marches miserably.
- Purple potions perform positively.
- Crazy cats create chaos.
- The brilliant blue bird chirps blissfully.
Edgar Allen Poe, a renowned poet, incorporated alliteration in one of his most popular poems, The Raven:
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”
Alliterations are also common in everyday language:
What’s the Difference Between Alliteration, Assonance, and Consonance?
People sometimes refer to the repetition of any sound in a series of words as alliteration. But if you want to be as technical (and correct) as possible, alliteration is the repetition of initial consonant sounds. In other words, the repeated sound has to be a consonant that’s found at the beginning of a word.
This differs from assonance and consonance. Assonance is a similar literary device in which the sound of a vowel (regardless of placement within a word) is repeated.
Son of a gun
Consonance, on the other hand, is when a series of words have repeated consonant sounds anywhere in the word.
It’s a matter of time.
Alliteration is a subcategory of consonance.
LanguageTool Livens Up Text
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