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What is Alliteration?

Alliteration is the repetition of the same first letter or sound in a group of words.

Lots of tongue twisters use alliteration.

 

A good way to remember what alliteration means, is to think of the word “repetition.” “Alliteration” and” repetition” even sound alike! Alliteration is the repetition of the same first letter or sound in a group of words. Simple, right? Not all the words in a sentence have to start with the same letter or sound for there to be alliteration, but a good chunk of them should. Alliteration is also easier to spot when the words that sound the same sit next to each other in sequence, but it’s not required. Did you catch the alliteration in the sentence before this one? If you did, congrats. You’re on your way to becoming an alliteration pro.

Can you find the alliteration in these poems?

Sonnet 116

BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

  If this be error and upon me proved,

  I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

The Stone Hare

BY GILLIAN CLARKE

Think of it waiting three hundred million years,  

not a hare hiding in the last stand of wheat,

but a premonition of stone, a moonlit reef  

where corals reach for the light through clear  

waters of warm Palaeozoic seas.  

In its limbs lies the story of the earth,  

the living ocean, then the slow birth  

of limestone from the long trajectories  

of starfish, feather stars, crinoids and crushed shells  

that fill with calcite, harden, wait for the quarryman,  

the timed explosion and the sculptor's hand.  

Then the hare, its eye a planet, springs from the chisel  

to stand in the grass, moonlight's muscle and bone,  

the stems of sea lilies slowly turned to stone.

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