Alliteration is a literary device that repeats a speech sound in a sequence of words that are close to each other. Alliteration typically uses consonants at the beginning of a word to give stress to its syllable. Alliteration plays a very crucial role in poetry and literature:
Today, alliteration is often used to make slogans more memorable or to make children’s stories more fun to read out loud.
To further understand the meaning it often helps to take a look at examples of alliteration in poems.
There are numerous examples of alliteration in poems. For example:
Here are examples of alliteration taken from The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe:
In this Poe poem, weak and weary; rare and radiant; silken and sad; deep and darkness; and wondering and fearing are all examples of alliteration.
Mother Goose poems contain a great deal of alliteration. For example:
Betty Botter bought some butter, but, she said, the butter’s bitter; if I put it in my batter it will make my batter bitter, but a bit of better butter will make my batter better.
So she bought a bit of butter better than her bitter butter, and she put it in her batter and the batter was not bitter. So ’twas better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter.
Three grey geese in a green field grazing, Grey were the geese and green was the grazing.
I need not your needles, They’re needless to me, For kneading of needles, Were needless, you see; But did my neat trousers, But need to be kneed, I then should have need of your needles indeed.
Alliteration also makes tongue twisters even more difficult to say:
Dr. Suess commonly used alliteration to make his books imminently readable. For example:
Through three cheese trees three free fleas flew. While these fleas flew, freezy breeze blew. Freezy breeze made these three trees freeze. Freezy trees made these trees’ cheese freeze. That’s what made these three free fleas sneeze.
Alliteration has also become a common tool in advertising. Check out these two examples:
The application of alliteration in poetry and literature began ages ago, at the time when literature was born. It was widely applied in the 8th century poem entitled Beowulf for instance. Alliteration was widely celebrated in the writings of the most ancient Germanic and Norse works, including the prose, Edda.
Alliteration is a creative tool used in turning prose and poetry into more interesting and memorable pieces of literature, especially when recited. This device is now even commonly used by advertisers to create witty and memorable catchphrases and tag lines. It’s a fun play of words that brings out the imagination of the writer and the reader.