Alliteration is Great Word Play!

How old were you when you first heard this line of alliteration: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers? This line of repetitive sounds is a part of our collective psyche, a part of who we are. This is a marvelous form of word play, rivaling rhyme itself. When I visit schools and conduct Poetry Workshops the students all want to rhyme, because rhyming is fun! Well, I submit that all forms of word play are a lot of fun -- whether you are a student or an established writer. Before I give some examples, I will first define it:

Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds (not vowels - AEIOU) in a string of two or more words. Please note that the consonant need not be at the beginning of the word. Also note that the "sounds" and not necessarily the same "letters" repeat themselves. See the examples below.

Examples of Alliteration

Betty blanched and baked before barbecuing.

Crazy cats kept coming constantly.

Dormant dogs don't dust davenports.

Four fragrant farmers fanned flames.

Ghostly grimaces and growls grew ghastly.

However helpful, Harry hears hooligans hum.

Jumping jacks jangle Jill's junipers.

Kitchen cafe curtains cling closely.

Large llamas lounge lazily.

Mad men munch mouthfuls of mango.

Nosy nurses never know enough.

Poison pens position political power plays.

Quiet Quakers quit quilting.

Rested ranchers roasted rare rump roasts.

She shelves sushi with a shovel.

Steaming dresses removes wrinkles.

Tart retorts retain temper tantrums.

Very vivacious velvet-clad vixens voraciously ate Velveeta.

Wild warriors were weary with waywardness.

eXpect eXcitement eXactly at the eXit.

She used your yellow yardstick yearly.

Zelda raised a zillion for the zoo.

Alliterative Poems

If you do a Google search, you will find a lot of sites that have "alliteration poems." Truthfully, there is no such thing. there are, however, poems that employ this device. It is part of the delicious family of word play.

Just a note: both assonance and consonance are closely related to this topic. Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds. (Example: "bee" and "keep") Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds. (Example: "borders" and "birders") In "consonance." The only part of the word they DON'T have in common is the vowels.

The human ear likes rhyme, rhythm and repetition. That is what makes for good speech, good writing and good poetry, (whether it rhymes or not). Once you make the alphabet your plaything, the possibilities are endless.

For more fun with words, go to simile, metaphor, or onomatopoeia.

Return from Alliteration to HOME PAGE.