Alliteration is a literary device in which there is a repetition of the same sounds that occur within a series or within a sentence. The same sounds should be the initial sounds occur close together in a sentence.
1. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
2. Luke Luck likes lakes.
3. Bobby Bippy bought a bat.
In the above examples, the initial sound of the letter ‘p’ in the first example, the initial sound of the letter ‘l’ in the second example, and the initial sound of the letter ‘b’ in the third example are creating the alliteration effect.
The above example sentences can also be named as ‘tongue twisters’ because tongue twisters are those sentences that are difficult to pronounce correctly. They are difficult because of their alliterative nature.
Examples of Tongue Twisters or Alliteration
1. She sells seashells on the sea shore.
2. The shells she sells are seashells for sure.
3. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
4. Red lorry, yellow lorry.
5. The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.
In alliteration, it is not necessary to have the same initial letter. In fact, the initial sound should be the same. For example,
• The cat’s kite cut down.
In the above example, the initial sounds of ‘c’ and ‘k’ are same, that is why this particular series can be alliterative.
Alliteration = Same Initial Sounds
Why Writers Use Alliteration?
The first and foremost importance of alliteration is that it can create a great mood and rhythm within a text. Readers usually got attentive when this kind of alliteration occurs within a particular text.
When a writer wants to emphasize on something or wants to give a special effect on something, he/she can cleverly use this literary device. You can find out the use of alliteration in various poems. For instance, if a writer wants to give an effect of calmness, he/she can use an ‘H’ sound which is similar to hush.
Not only in poems, but writers do use this literary device in prose as well. For example,
• “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes; A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life.”
The above example is taken from William Shakespeare’s play ‘Romeo and Juliet’. You can see that the writer used alliteration with the initial sounds ‘f’ and ‘I’.
It is concluded that alliteration is a literary device in which, mostly, there is a repetition of the same consonant sounds within a sentence. Writers use alliteration as a helpful tool to give emphasis or to give an effect on something. In poems, it is usually use for mood and rhythm.