The Appeal Of Alliteration & Assonance

In fourth grade, I vividly remember a creative writing assignment I had to complete. While the project was exciting for me, not all students were as eager. My teacher assigned us to pick a letter and write a story in alliteration. I remember choosing the letter M, the main character named Maggie, inspired by my pet guinea pig at the time.

This creative writing project was the spark in my appreciation for alliteration. I like to sprinkle alliteration into my poetry and novels. But I always make sure to use the right dose, sparingly, never bombarding the reader.

At times, alliteration may be considered amateur and too playful. Similar sounding words being placed side by side can sometimes portray a more comical tone than what was originally intended.

Alliteration offers rhythm in literature. Many classical forms of prose and poetry include alliteration and assonance.

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;”

Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven / Poet

“From forth the fatal loins of these two foes;

A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life.”

William Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet / Playwright

“Behemoth biggest born of earth upheaved

His vastness: Fleeced the flocks and bleating rose,

As plants: Ambiguous between sea and land

The river-horse, and scaly crocodile.”

John Milton, Paradise Lost / Poet

These three classic examples represent strong use of alliteration and assonance that convey rhythm, draw emphasis, and make the pronunciation of its language exciting to read aloud. Use of alliteration and assonance dates back multiple centuries ago. In modern time, alliteration has found its way into branding and business.

Dunkin’ Donuts, Coca-Cola, Bed Bath & Beyond, American Apparel, and more are just naming some.

There is truth behind how alliteration can increase the chance of a person remembering a statement or sentence. To create a memorable experience for your reader, use alliteration to boost the beat and appeal of your sentences or stanzas. Alliteration can create an artistic experience.


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