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Aliteration (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
We've all learned about this in high school or college English classes. But what exactly is the impression it's supposed to leave?

I'm reminded of John Milton's comment about rhyming in poetry:

"[R]hyme [is] no necessary adjunct or true ornament of poem or good verse, in longer works especially, but the invention of a barbarous age, to set off wretched matter and lame meter; graced indeed since by the use of some famous modern poets, carried away by custom, but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and constraint, to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse, than else they would have expressed them."

I think alteration falls into the same pit. If one chooses a word that starts with the same letter/sound, that means they won't choose the "best" possible word.

Olly Buckle

I like lots and lots of lovely alliteration.

One might argue that things could be expressed better in certain situations, but when it works it's wonderful.

Olly Buckle

Some say it is in the sound of it

Much is made of its memorability

Seriously, of course Milton is right, if you force rhyme it can sound atrocious, anything squeezed into a shape it does not agree with will, but systematic, regular use of language sounds good if it does fit. There is assonance and consonance as well. You can even make them sit at the same place in the line, not always on the end like conventional rhyme, it simply sounds different from everyday language.

TL Murphy

Met3 Member
Staff member
Chief Mentor
It’s all about the music. Alliteration adds a staccato feel. It is also a form of internal rhyme which is a function of meter. rhyme really accentuates rhythm since it calls attention to the beat. Also, the cadence tends to speed up with alliteration.

Assonance, the repetition of vowel sounds, has the opposite effect, slowing the poem down and adding mellifluence, or lyrical tone.
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