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Alliteration primarily emerged as a concept within poetry, since poetry is the literary discipline that is most deeply concerned with the sounds of words. Alliteration happens when a person uses words that start with the same sounds in a repeated way. For example, a man could say that he saw a dark dog the other day: the words dark, dog, and day would form a sequence of alliteration. Alliteration is perhaps used by marketers today in order to catch the listener's attention. It is important, however, to not overdo it, or else alliteration has a tendency to just sound tacky. 

Alliteration explanation

Alliteration is a stylistic literary device used in literature, poetry, and spoken word in which numerous words containing the same first consonant sound (or letter) occurs frequently and close together. Alliteration concerns identical consonant sounds which often (but not always) coincide with the same letter. Therefore, listening for alliteration is more successful than simply looking for the same letter used repeatedly in a sentence or line of a poem. Alliteration is often used in advertising, marketing, and catchphrases to make a company’s slogan or name easy for customers and investors to remember. People with alliterative names are present both in real life and in fiction, allowing them to stand out among others in the mind. Ronald Reagan, Sammy Sosa, and Marilyn Monroe are a few examples of this.

How to use alliteration

Alliteration is used in the names of the well-known companies PayPal, Best Buy, American Apparel, Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Fictional characters’ names can be made to stand out or stick on the memory by using alliteration, and some examples are: Mickey Mouse, Lois Lane, and Spongebob Squarepants.

Alliteration is a common literary device used in poetry, particularly epic poems like those written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. “Kubla Khan” and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” commonly use alliteration to smooth out sentences and provide a more pleasurable reading experience. In “Kubla Khan” the name of the main character uses alliteration, as does the fourth line, “Through caves measureless toman/Down to a sunless sea.” In “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” Part II, line 21 “The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew” uses “b” and “f” consonant alliteration.

James Joyce’s unique fiction is extremely alliterative, as well as allegorical, and uses many, many, literary devices. An example from “The Dead” demonstrates the alliterative “s” and “f” consonant sounds: “His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe.” 


Alliteration allows words and phrases to flow together in a rhythmic, musical way that enhances both poetry and prose. Reading alliterative writing aloud is more pleasant than reading non-alliterative writing, and may make reading easier for the average person in general. Alliteration allows the words to leave the page and directly interact with the mind in a synchronous manner. As a result, another sort of reading or listening experience singular to alliterative works of art occurs. Enhanced flow and beauty merge with prose, poetry, or spoken word when alliteration is used, and sounds a writer wishes to convey may also be made present through alliteration. For example, the chop of waves or a knife can be conveyed through the word choice, spacing, and repetitiveness of alliteration.

Alliteration also allows faster, more accurate memorization of poetry or prose. The best way to identify alliteration is to sound the sentence out aloud, listening for identical consonant sounds. Alliterative phrases are often used in stage productions or choral groups to warm up the voices and speech of actors or singers. An example of such a phrase is the commonly known “She sells seashells down by the seashore” or “Alice’s aunt ate apples and acorns around August.” 

Alliteration can occur in every word in a sentence; in some words in a sentence; in a two-word phrase; or even in a single word with two alliterative syllables. Some well-known alliterative phrases are “busy as a bee,” “give up the ghost,” “living the life,” “right as rain,” or “mad as a March hare.”

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