Alliteration is a term that describes a literary stylistic device. Alliteration occurs when a series of words in a row (or close to a row) have the same first consonant sound. For example, “She sells sea-shells down by the sea-shore” or “Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers” are both alliterative phrases. In the former, all the words start with the “s” sound, while in the later, the letter “p” takes precedence. Aside from tongue twisters, alliteration is also used in poems, song lyrics, and even store or brand names.
How to Identify Alliteration
The best way to spot alliteration being used in a sentence is to sound out the sentence, looking for the words with the identical consonant sounds. For example, read through these sentences to test your skills in identifying alliteration:
Alice’s aunt ate apples and acorns around August.
Becky’s beagle barked and bayed, becoming bothersome for Billy.
Carrie's cat clawed her couch, creating chaos.
Dan’s dog dove deep in the dam, drinking dirty water as he dove.
Eric’s eagle eats eggs, enjoying each episode of eating.
Fred’s friends fried Fritos for Friday’s food.
Garry’s giraffe gobbled gooseberryies greedily, getting good at grabbing goodies.
Hannah’s home has heat hopefully.
Isaacs ice cream is interesting and Isaac is imbibing it.
Jesse’s jaguar is jumping and jiggling jauntily.
Kim’s kid’s kept kiting.
Larry’s lizard likes leaping leopards.
Mike’s microphone made much music.
Nick’s nephew needed new notebooks now not never.
Orson’s owl out-performed ostriches.
Peter’s piglet pranced priggishly.
Quincy’s quilters quit quilting quickly.
Ralph’s reindeer rose rapidly and ran round the room.
Sara’s seven sisters slept soundly in sand.
Tim’s took tons of tools to make toys for tots.
Uncle Uris’ united union uses umbrellas.
Vivien’s very vixen-like and vexing.
Walter walked wearily while wondering where Wally was.
Yarvis yanked you at yoga, and Yvonne yelled.
Zachary zeroed in on zoo keeping.
In each of these examples, the alliteration occurs in the words that have the same sound. As you can see:
Not every word must be alliterative. You can use prepositions, such as of and pronouns such as his and still maintain the alliterative effect.
Alliteration does not need to be an entire sentence. Any two-word phrase can be alliterative.
Even some single words can be alliterative, if they have multiple syllables which begin with the same consonant sound.
Brand Names and Alliteration
Companies use this alliterative effect all the time. The major reason companies use this technique is to ensure that their brand name is memorable. Think, for example, of all of the famous and well known brands and companies that have used alliteration in their names:
Bed Bath & Beyond
The Scotch and Sirloin
Famous People and Alliteration
Alliterative names can also help you stand out in the crowd and can make you more memorable. For example, both fictional characters and real people may stand out in your head as a result of the alliterative effect of their name. Think of:
Katie Courec (Remember, alliterative words don’t even necessarily have to start with the same letter, they simply have to have the same first sound).
Phrases and Quotes
Finally, many famous phrases, quotes and saying also make use of alliteration:
Busy as a bee
Dead as a doornail
Get your goat
Give up the ghost
Good as gold
Home sweet home
Leave in the Lurch
Living the life
Look to your laurels
Mad as a March hare
Make a mountain out of a molehill
Method to the madness
Neck and neck
Not on your nelly
Out of order
Pleased as punch
Right as rain
Alliteration is commonly used since it adds interest to a sentence and can be a great way to help you remember names and phrases that you might other wide forget. Enjoy alliteration. It is a very fun and useful literary device.