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Assonance: What It Is and How It Can Improve Your Writing

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There are many ways to add rhythm to your writing; incorporating “assonance” is one of them. We’ll go over what “assonance” is and explain how it can elevate your writing skills.

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What Does Assonance Mean?

  • Assonance is a literary and poetic device in which vowel sounds are repeated in nearby words throughout a line of text.
    • He eats the sweet treats.
  • Assonance is similar to alliteration, consonance, and rhyme, but they have their distinctions.

Assonance Adds Rhythm to Your Writing

Writing well requires you to follow a few steps.

One, you should use accurate vocabulary. Two, you must use correct spelling and grammar. Three, you should add rhythm to your writing.

The first two may seem obvious, but how does one add rhythm to writing? With the use of literary and poetic devices like assonance. Below, we’ll explain exactly what assonance is, provide examples, and explain how it differs from alliteration, consonance, and rhyme.

What Is Assonance?

Assonance (also known as vowel rhyme) is a poetic device in which words found near each other within a line of text contain a repetition of similar or identical vowel sounds.

The early bird gets the worm.

In the example above, the “ea-” in early, the “-i-” in bird, and the “-o-” in worm all make a /ɜː/ (“ur”) sound.

The repeated vowel sounds can be found in the beginning, middle, or end of a word.

Here, we'll define assonance and provide examples of assonance.
“No pain, no gain” is an assonant expression. 

Why Use Assonance?

Assonance adds a sense of musicality to your writing, which can help keep readers engaged with the text. In other words, it can help make your writing “sound pretty.”

Additionally, assonance helps emphasize certain words and can help evoke moods to match the topic you’re writing about.

Assonance is just one of many sound devices writers can use to add a rhythmic flow to their writing. There is also alliteration, consonance, and rhyme. These terms are often grouped together and used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings, which we’ll go over below.

Assonance vs. Alliteration

Whereas assonance is the repetition of similar or identical vowel sounds (that can be found anywhere within a word), alliteration is the repetition of initial consonant sounds.

Assonance: Son of a gun

Alliteration: Big brown bear

Assonance vs. Consonance

Consonance, on the other hand, is the repetition of consonant sounds found anywhere within a word. (Alliteration is a subcategory of consonance.)

Assonance: Bake a cake

Consonance: Twist and shout

Assonance vs. Rhyme

Rhyme also includes repetition of similar sounds but includes both vowel and consonant sounds.

Assonance: Let the at out of the bag.

Rhyme: Let the cat out of the hat.

Examples of Assonance

The use of assonance helped make commonly used expressions easy to remember.

A stitch in time saves nine.
He had his eyes on the prize.
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Assonance is extremely effective and therefore found in poetry, songs, and more.

Who knows why the cold wind blows
Or where it goes, or what it knows.
It only flows in passionate throes
Until it finally slows and settles in repose.
(“The Cold Wind Blows” by Kelly Roper)
Oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked
He’s so mad, but he won’t give up that easy, no
He won’t have it, he knows his whole back’s to these ropes
It don’t matter, he’s dope.
(“Lose Yourself” by Eminem)
Upon an island hard to reach,
the East Beast sits upon his beach.
Upon the west beach sits the West Beast.
Each beach beast thinks he's the best beast.

Which beast is best?...Well, I thought at first
that the East was best and the West was worst.
Then I looked again from the west to the east
and I liked the beast on the east beach least.
(“West Beast East Beast” by Dr. Suess)

Now you know what assonance is and how it can make your writing more effective by improving its flow.

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