Alliteration in Writing:
~ the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.
It is commonly believed that alliteration is always the repetition of the same letter in two or more words close together in a sentence, but this is not true, unless the sounds of those letters are the same. For example:
Phillip’s feet = alliteration
Cheerful cop = not alliteration
Why use alliteration in writing?
Alliteration is used more in poetry, but this doesn’t mean it can’t be used in stories either. When you want something to stand out in a sentence, use a repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words to strengthen your prose and allow for rhythm and musicality in your words. Alliteration can change the pacing of your sentence, to make it sound calmer, or exactly the opposite, to make your reader read quicker and almost stumble over your words, as to understand the drama or danger.
Using alliteration in your stories helps to grab your audience’s attention, as it’s used for emphasis, to be memorable, to make an impact or to make you look confident. Use alliteration for your won benefit.
A word of caution: don’t overuse alliteration. Where it’s a great way to make your sentences stand out, overusing it can make your work look like that of a child.
Types of alliteration
This is the most commonly used form of alliteration, where the initial sound of the first letter of a word is repeated, for example: the girl grabbed the golden goose.
This is a repetition of consonances in any of the three parts of a sentence: beginning, middle in end, for example the repetition of the ‘t’ and ‘r’ in: Pitter Patter, Pitter Patter.
When a vowel sound is repeated in any place in a word, it’s called assonance alliteration, for example: Fleet feet sweep by sleeping geese.
Some letters in a word are unvoiced and silent, but they do become a necessary component for alliteration, even when they are not heard when the words are spoken out loud such as the p in pterodactyl in this example: Perry just poked a pink pterodactyl.
More examples of alliteration
Some examples below are quite known, and real tongue-breakers:
- She sells sea shells at the sea shore. The shells she sells are sea shells, I’m sure. For if she sells sea shells on the sea shore, then I’m sure she sells sea-shore shells.
- Tex was tickled as he tasted the tarantula’s toes.
- Bake a big cake with lots of butter and bring it to the birthday bash.
- The terrible tiger tore the towel.
- Garry grumpily gathered the garbage.
- A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked; If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?