Monday, July 1, 2013

Alliteration, Assonance, and Rime

Here’s a reminder on using aural devices in writing.

Alliteration refers to repeating the initial sounds of words: “Tippee canoe and Tyler too.” “The kind of entertainment that used to be furnished by Errol Flynn, a babe and a blade.” (Henry Popkin).

Assonance refers to repeating the internal sounds of words: "I lie down by the side of my bride"/"Fleet feet sweep by sleeping geese"/"Hear the lark and harden to the barking of the dark fox gone to ground"( Pink Floyd). "It's hot and it's monotonous." (Stephen Sondheim).

Rime refers to using words with the same number of syllables or part of syllables: “He was carnivorous, bibulous, querulous, cantankerous, and poisonous as a snake (Henry Miller). The words and syllables often rhyme, but don’t have to.

You can use these devices in legal writing, but only sparingly. Otherwise, they sound overly cute.


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