Improve Your Writing: Alliteration
“Busy bees buzz brightly.”
“Sally sells seashells by the seashore.”
“Cats can create catastrophes constantly.”
These sentences use alliteration. Alliteration is a literary device in which the writer repeatedly uses words that start with the same sound. That’s why alliteration makes for really great tongue twisters—alliterated passages are so hard to enunciate!
Alliteration can be used in many contexts—poetry, fiction, and even nonfiction. In particular, using alliteration allows the writer to call attention to specific words.
If you’d like to use alliteration in your poetry or other writing, find a word that you’d like to emphasize. Perhaps this is the climax of the piece, or perhaps this is a deeply emotional (or funny, or important) part of the piece.
Think of a few words that begin with the same sound as the word you have chosen. These words should serve to further the feeling or emotion of your piece. String together the words in a way that makes sense.
If you’re writing a poem, then you have a bit more leeway as to how much alliteration you use. If you’re writing prose, however, you might want to limit the number of times that you use alliteration—too much alliteration in a limited amount of text may make the reader a bit too tongue-tied. So, alliterate with taste!
If you’d like to read works by writers who like to use alliteration, check out Shel Silverstein, Edgar Allan Poe, and Robert Frost. Pay attention to the ways that these writers use alliteration in order to make their work funnier, darker, sadder. You can try capturing the same emotions that these writers have worked through.
Now you know all about alliteration and can use it in your own writing! Happy reading and writing!