Alliteration is one of those literary devices that you come across on an almost daily basis, but what exactly does the term mean?
Well, it is quite literally a repetition of consonant sounds within a sentence or name. This can be achieved for a number of purposes and is particularly common in poetry and advertising because of the instantly memorable tone that they produce when you read them.
Alliteration is an incredibly simple device to identify, as you will soon see with the examples below. They can be fun and it is really easy to come up with some of your own.
These examples are mixtures of names and phrases that will be quite common to you, as well as some of my own thrown in for good measure.
Bulbous billiard balls bouncing between Bolton and Bradford
Sleek and shine
Word wide widows
Bradford and Bingley
Circumnavigate Celtic Circuses
Batman’s Batterang producing Bat Machine.
Six sizzling sausages sizzling in a pan.
Busy as a bee
Good as gold
Right as rain
Reach for the robin redbreast
Mad as a march hare
Seven silly slug slid slowly on the slope
You spin me right round like a record baby
Twelve drummers drumming
Eleven pipers piping
Ten lords a leaping
Eight maids a milking
Seven swans a swimming
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
The Raven – Edger Allan Poe
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word,
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word,
Merely this and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
Surely,’ said I,surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore –
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; –
‘Tis the wind and nothing more!’
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door –
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door –
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Much Madness is Divinest Sense – Emily Dickinson
Much Madness is divinest Sense
To a discerning Eye –
Much Sense — the starkest Madness
‘Tis the Majority
In this, as All, prevail –
Assent — and you are sane –
Demur — you’re straightway dangerous
And handled with a Chain
Why – Landon Browning
Why?! Sometimes I ask why. I mean why?
Does the good die young, I mean why?
Does the world make it so hard for single mothers to feed their kids but have enough
money for inmates, I mean why?
Do we constantly see history repeat itself when we have already learned it, I mean why?
Do we fear and can’t trust the police, I mean why?
Do we attack and hurt the people that love us but love the people that attack and hurt us, I mean why?
Do we have a generation that believes love is unsearchable. Where hate is leaned on more. Where happiness is rare.
And where lust is a no brainer, I mean why?
Do kids know every song lyric, but doesn’t know a bible scripture besides the one tatted on their arms, I mean why?
Do I have people in my life that are there for no reason, I mean why?
Do I have a pinch of believers but a handful of doubters, I mean why?
Did I have so much pain growing up, I mean why?
Do now I have enemies that use to be my friends, I mean why?!
Do things never go my way in my life, I mean why?
Eden – SKAT
Eden’s Ending Eulogy-
Proceed here today, Eden’s Ending Eulogy
Gentle gracious her garden, the guidance
I can’t recall what was with the warm, sincere smile, and sunrise
Lost at ease and clarity…….I Sleep!
Forever In Peace, this dark, damp den, coffin will do
at last, a parting powerful, reunion and resting resort
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
If a woodchuck would chuck wood?
A woodchuck would chuck all the wood he could chuck
If a woodchuck would chuck wood.
A tutor who tooted the flute
Tried to tutor two tooters to toot
Said the two to the tutor
“Is it tougher to toot
Or to tutor two tooters to toot?”
A skunk sat on a stump.
The stump thought the skunk stunk.
The skunk thought the stump stunk .
What stunk the skunk or the stump?
If one doctor doctors another doctor
Does the doctor who doctors the doctor
Doctor the doctor the way the doctor he is doctoring doctors?
Or does the doctor doctor the way
The doctor who doctors doctors?
If Freaky Fred Found Fifty Feet of Fruit
And Fed Forty Feet to his Friend Frank
How many Feet of Fruit did Freaky Fred Find?
Did Dick Pickens prick his pinkie
Pickling cheap cling peaches in an inch of Pinch
Or framing his famed French finch photos?
I’m not the pheasant plucker, I’m the pheasant plucker’s mate,
And I’m only plucking pheasants ’cause the pheasant plucker’s late
I thought a thought.
But the thought I thought wasn’t the thought I thought I thought.
If the thought I thought I thought had been the thought I thought, I wouldn’t have thought so much.
As you can see, alliteration is very easy to comprehend, albeit difficult to say in the form of tongue twisters. So, as Neil Buchanan says, ‘Try it yourself!’