Definition and examples of alliteration.

The repetition of letters, phonemes, or sounds in a sentence or phrase to create an acoustic harmony.

Alliteration is a literary device used to add beauty to writing. Alliteration occurs when several words with the same consonant sound are repeated in a series. It’s a stylistic device for poetic and non-poetic writing, including brand names, song lyrics, and poems.

It’s not enough to use words with similar sounds to form alliteration, they must also make sense grammatically. I have created this wonderful website to help those who want create alliterative sentences. Sentence Seeker is made to auto generate silly sentences using alliteration. Synonym Seeker is made to help find synonyms for words. Part of Speech allows you to looks at words by parts of speech and get definitions. Using tools found on this website can help you become an astonishing alliterator.

It’s easy to identify alliteration in a sentence or group of sentences. Look at these two examples:

  1. But a better butter makes a batter better.
  2. A big bully beats a baby boy.

Both sentences are good examples of alliterative sentences because the letter b was used consecutively. However, it’s important to note that alliteration is not all about letters. It’s about sounds and how the sounds relate to each other sequentially.

Alliteration can be used for branding purposes like naming a company. Here are examples of popular companies with alliterative names:

  • American Apparel
  • PayPal
  • Best Buy

People also make use of alliteration in their names, and writers make use of alliteration while naming their fictional characters. Alliteration can make it easier for you to remember names of both real people and fictional characters in written and visual elements. Here are some examples:

  • Michael Moore
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Jesse Jackson
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Sammy Sosa
  • Bruce Banner (Hulk)
  • Peter Parker (Spider-Man)
  • Bucky Barnes (Captian America)

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”

“The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.”

From the above example, one can vividly see the alliterative constructions and the effect it has on those lines. The letters b, f, and s were used to achieve alliteration and to pass the writer’s message. For example: “breeze blew,” “foam flew,” “furrow followed,” and “silent sea.”

James Joyce’s “The Dead”

“His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”

Alliteration was used several times in the above prose by James Joyce. These alliterations were achieved with the use of s and f in phrases like “swooned slowly” and “falling faintly.” When you read it out loud, you can hear how beautiful and sharp the prose is made through alliteration.

Andy and Larry Wachowski's “V for Vendetta” 2005

“Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it's my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.”

In this scene of the movie, the character named V uses alliteration with the letter v as a way to foreshadow the reveal of his name. At the end of the soliloquy, he breaks from his alliteration and says, “You may call me V.”

To establish Rhythm

In Gwendolyn Brooks’ simple poem, “We Real Cool,” alliteration was used to establish a firm beat. For instance, “Lurk late,” “Sing sin,” and “Jazz June” are some of the alliterations used by the poet to establish the rhythm. This is arguably one of the major reasons why writers make use of alliteration. It’s very common in musical lyrics because alliteration produces rhythm, which gives a sound effect to any piece.

To create mood

Alliteration is a device writers use to set the mood for their readers. For example, “Boom! Boom!” creates a scary mood for the reader. In the poem “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, b, j, ch, tch, and both hard and soft g sounds were all harsh and jarring.

To make you laugh

Creative writers can use the power of alliteration to crack you up. For instance, a silly alliterative nursery rhyme can evoke laughter from both kids and adults: “Peter Piper Picked a Pack of Pickled Peppers.” Some film titles and characters are alliterative to evoke humor, like “Beavis and Butthead” or “Woody Woodpecker.”

To help you remember easily

Some popular idiomatic expressions use alliteration to easily remember things. For example, “dull as dirt,” “the bigger the better,” or “lefty loosey.”

Kids are not left behind either. Some alliterative phrases are used to grab their attention and help them remember, like “Bob the Builder” and “Mickey Mouse.”

Alliteration is a powerful device in both literature and everyday writing. It’s popular, very interesting, and adds beauty to writing.