Literary Devices


What is it?

Alliteration is a figure of speech in which the same sound appears at the beginning of two or more words. Alliterative words are consecutive or close to each other in the text.

Why is it important?

Alliteration focuses readers' attention on a particular section of text. Alliterative sounds create rhythm and mood and can have particular connotations. For example, repetition of the "s" sound often suggests a snake-like quality, implying slyness and danger.

How do I do it?

Use repeated sounds at the beginning of words to focus attention or convey an idea or emotion.

Example 1:

"Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

Note: The repeated "p" sound punctuates each word of this well-known tongue-twister.

Example 2:

"Heavenly Hillsboro, the buckle on the bible belt."

—Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, Inherit the Wind

Note: The authors repeat the "h" sound and then the "b" sound. Notice the soft, soothing effect of the "h" sounds and the sharp, percussive effect of the "b" sounds.

More about alliteration