Alliteration is the repetition of initial identical consonant sounds or any vowel sounds in successive or closely associated syllables, especially stressed syllables” (A Handbook to Literature). It is a rhetorical device used in both prose and poetry to create lyricism and fluidity in language.
Alliteration is the repetition of usually initial consonant sounds through a sequence of words—for example, “While I nodded, nearly napping” in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven. (The Norton Anthology of World Literature)
Origin of Alliteration
early 17th cent.: from medieval Latin alliteratio(n-), from Latin ad- (expressing addition) + littera ‘letter.’ (New Oxford American Dictionary)
Alliteration Writing Exercise
Choose a paragraph or stanza from a work you’ve already written. Create a new document and rewrite this paragraph or stanza with repeated beginning vowels or consonants. As you choose the repeated vowel or consonant, consider the tone of the section. Do you want the repetition to be in harmony with or conflict with the overall tone of the section?
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A Handbook to Literature. William Harmon.
“Cogito et Histoire de la Folie.” Jacques Derrida.
The Elements of Style. William Strunk.
New Oxford American Dictionary. Edited by Angus Stevenson and Christine A. Lindberg.
The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Martin Puchner, et al.
The Norton Introduction to Philosophy. Gideon Rosen and Alex Byrne.
Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. Patricia T. O’Conner
Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French & Ned Stuckey-French.
Writing the Other. Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward.« Back to Reference Index