Alliteration- by K.J. Rollinson


Alliteration is defined as the repetition of an initial consonant sound. This has been used to great effect in slogans such as –

“You’ll never put a better bit of butter on your knife.” (Advertising slogan for Country Life butter).

Or how about a mixed alliteration form:

“Good men are gruff and grumpy,
Crawling, crabbed and cross. (Clement Freud)

“Fly o’er waste fens and winding fields (Tennyson)

One of my favourite alliteration is the letter ‘S’, which is used to great effect in the following.

“The sibilant sermons of the snake as she discoursed upon the disposition of my sinner’s soul seemed ceaseless.” (Gregory Kirschling. ‘The Gargoyle,’ 2008).

Like a rhyme, alliteration can make a poem easier to remember. It has a long and distinguished history. Middle English poetry was written in a verse form, which featured the repetition of consonants within a line, e.g.

“In a somer season, when soft was the sonne….”

The poem ‘Beowulf’ is an example of medieval Anglo-Saxon poetry which was written by monks in c.1100. Examples from the poem are given below, which are heavy in their use of alliteration.

“Cunningly creeping, a spectral stalker”

“Hot-headed Beowulf was bent on battle”

“How glutted with gore he would guzzle his fill

One of the characters in my ‘Fallyn’ trilogy is called Kalla, a shape shifter. She is also a visionary, and speaks in rhyming verse when she has a vision of the future. She sometimes uses alliteration, as in the following example taken from the first book, ‘Fallyn and the Dragons.’

Dragons flee no fire to bring.

Or when she has a vision in the second book ‘Fallyn in the Forbidden Land’ and speaks the words –

No greater gift than life to give.

Time to learn that life does not last.

I use alliteration in the synopsis of the final book, ‘Fallyn and the Sea Dragons.’

…farewell to Lord Fallyn in this final fantastic fantasy fable.

Take care not to use alliteration when it is not appropriate – in formal writing for instance. In such cases it can have a distracting and irritating effect.

Feel free friend to use this fine form forthwith – but a word of warning – avoid the use of ‘S’ if you tend to spray when you speak!!


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