What Is Alliteration? Examples of Alliteration

What Is Alliteration?

Alliteration is a literary device that involves two or more words that appear
close together and have the same initial stressed consonant syllable. “Good
grief” and “red rose” are two examples. This repeat of
sound usually involves the same letters in both words. However, it can also
involve different letters, as long as the sound is the same for both terms
(e.g., “kit and caboodle”). In the reverse, if two words start
with the same letter, like “chair” and “celery,”
but they don’t make the same sound, this would not be an example of
alliteration.

 

The repeated sound in alliteration usually occurs with
the first letter of two neighboring words. It can occur in the middle of the
words as well, such as with “Wetzel’s Pretzels.”

Alliteration Examples

Alliteration is intended to
capture the attention of the reader or listener. Therefore, this literary
technique typically results in an enjoyable and sometimes rhyming sound and
rhythm. Alliteration is commonly used in poetry and other forms of literature,
plays, songs, idioms, business names, slogans, speeches, and other places. It’s
especially common in Shakespearean writing.  

 

Alliteration in Songs and Poems

·        
“Nor the demons
down under the sea…” (“Annabel Lee”
by Edgar Allan Poe)

·        
 “The save soldier sticks his head
in sand.” (“Gates of Eden” by Bob Dylan)

·        
Whisper
words of wisdom, let it be.” (“Let It Be” by The Beatles)

 

Alliteration in Shakespeare

As one of the most famous writers
in the world, William Shakespeare frequently used alliteration throughout his
plays, sonnets, and poems. This was likely because a great deal of his writing
was written for the stage and, therefore, meant to be recited aloud. Because of
the rhyming and repetitive consonant sounds, this made his writing more
pleasing for audiences to hear.  

 

·        
“When griping
grief the heart doth wound…” (“Romeo
and Juliet”)

·        
Fair
is foul, and foul is fair.”
(“Macbeth”)

·        
“…you’ll have your nephews neigh to you;
you’ll have coursers for cousins, and gennets for germans.”
(“Othello”)

Alliteration in Idioms

An idiom is a phrase that typically has a figurative meaning and is, therefore,
not always understood by the individual words. Idioms are common in writing and
pop culture, and many have alliteration.

 

·        
Down
and dirty

·        
Forgive
and forget

·        
Mix
and match

Alliterative Business Names

Using alliteration in a business name is a great way to get consumers to
remember your brand. Some of the common business names that use alliteration
include:

·        
Dunkin’
Donuts

·        
Best Buy

·        
Jamba
Juice

Alliteration in Slogans

Many slogans use alliteration as a means of creating a “catchy” and memorable
phrase that consumers will remember and associate with the brand, just as with
business names.

·        
Uber:
Move the way you want.

·        
M&Ms:
Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.

·        
Capital
One
: What’s in your wallet?

Alliteration in Tongue Twisters

Many people are exposed to alliteration as children without realizing it when
they hear tongue twisters. Tongue twisters are found in every language and are used
to help individuals improve their pronunciation of the language. They’re also
enjoyable to say.

·        
Peter
Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

·        
How much wood
would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck
could chuck wood?

·        
She sells seashells by the seashore.

Consonance and Assonance

When discussing alliteration, it’s important to also consider two other related
literary devices: assonance and consonance. Like alliteration, consonance
involves a repetition of consonant sounds, as the word implies. The difference,
however, is that this repetition typically occurs at the end of the words
(e.g., “flip-flop”). With alliteration, it usually occurs at the
beginning.

The term “assonance” also involves a repetition of sound between
words. However, instead of a repetition of consonant sounds, assonance
involves the repetition of vowel sounds, such as with “ever dissever”
and “The Cat in the Hat.”

Other Alliteration Examples

·        
It’s been a long work
week

·        
The car is in tip top
shape.

·        
He drew it in a “criss
cross” pattern.

·        
School was canceled, due to the wintery
weather

·        
The film featured Mickey
Mouse.

·        
It’s a happy home.

·        
The time trials
ended.

·        
He has one life line left.

·        
I’m in a mellow mood

·        
Thy Kingdom come…

·        
I feel fine.

·        
It looks like
rain.

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