1. Definition: 
  2.     the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words

     But a better butter makes a batter better.

An important point to remember here is that alliteration does not depend on letters but on sounds. So the phrase not knotty is alliterative, but cigarette chase is not.

Alliteration Examples in Daily Life

Alliteration is a marketing technique. It makes companies and products catchy and easy to memorize. Here are several common alliteration examples.

  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • PayPal
  • Best Buy
  • Coca-Cola
  • Life Lock
  • Park Place
  • American Apparel
  • American Airlines
  • Chuckee Cheese’s
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Krispy Kreme

Alliteration Examples in Literature

Example #1

From 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.”

Example #2

From Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

    “Up the aisle, the moans and screams merged with the sickening smell of woolen black clothes worn in summer weather and green leaves wilting over yellow flowers.”

Maya gives us a striking example of alliteration in the above extract with the letters “s” and “w”. We notice that alliterative words are interrupted by other non-alliterative words among them but the effect of alliteration remains the same. We immediately notice alliteration in the words “screams”, “sickening smell”, “summer”, “weather” and wilting”.

Example #3

From William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” (prologue to Act 1)

    “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes;
    A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life.”

This is an example of alliteration with the “f” and “l.” in words “forth, fatal, foes” and “lion, lovers, and life”.

Example #4

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s (English Romantic poet) “The Witch of Atlas” is a famous poem that is full of examples of alliterations. Just a few of them are “wings of winds” (line 175), “sick soul to happy sleep” (line 178), “cells of crystal silence” (line 156), “Wisdom’s wizard. . . wind. . . will” (lines 195-197), “drained and dried” ( line 227), “lines of light” (line 245), “green and glowing” (line 356), and crudded. . . cape of cloud” (lines 482-3).

Function of Alliteration

Alliteration has a vital role in poetry and prose. It creates a musical effect that enhances the pleasure of reading a literary piece. It makes reading and recitation of the poems appealing,  making them easier to learn by heart. It adds to the flow and beauty of a piece of writing.

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