1. What is it?

Alliteration is the repeating of a syllable or sound at the beginning of words.

It is most commonly seen in children’s poetry and nursery rhymes, and advertising slogans that want to grab attention.

Note: Alliteration doe not have to repeat the same letter, only the same sound.

2. Why use it?

Add rhythm to sentences or phrases.Create memorable phrases, or comedic effect.
Two or three alliterative words, subtly spread, can improve rhythm and patterns in literature.

3. Examples

The dog dug deep into the dirt.

The window where I had seen her creaked, but now not from a ghost but the wind.

I cared not for the party and withdrew to the parlour to play a hand of poker. I could still hear the other guests chatting and laughing as I placed my chips.

Don Julio walked into the room and winced. He saw her standing with her new man, talking, touching his arm, and trying to make eye contact. It sickened him.

Sun, sand, sand surf. Forests and fine dining. Mountains. Mexico has it all.

4. Examples in literature

Fox in Socks
by Dr Seuss

Know Your Book

Title: Fox in Socks
Author: Dr Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) (1904-1991)
Published: 1965
Language: English
Genre: Poetry; children’s poetry; nonsense poem
Synopsis: Fox in Socks teaches children about rhyme. It places rhyming words in close proximity, such as ‘fox in socks’, often to make complicated but amusing ideas. The rhymes are accompanied with pictures of the odd combinations – such as a fox wearing socks.


Through three cheese trees three free fleas flew.
While these fleas flew, freezy breeze blew.
Freezy breeze made these three trees freeze.
Freezy trees made these trees’ cheese freeze.
That’s what made these three free fleas sneeze.

Skimming, Scanning and Basic Comprehension

1. What are the trees made of?
2. What made the fleas cold?
3. What did the fleas do because they were cold?
4. How many times does letter e appear in this stanza? 
Identifying Techniques

5. On which of the following does the imagery in this stanza rely most heavily: nouns, adjectives, or verbs?
6. Circle the examples of alliteration in the piece.
7. As well as alliteration, there are two sets of rhyming words in this stanza. Highlight one set, and underline the other.
8. Apart from alliteration and rhyme, what do all five lines of this stanza have in common? Why is this important to the poem? 
Text Analysis

9. What is the general tone of Fox in Socks? How is this achieved?
10. Is there an advantage in the writer using fleas instead of bees?
11. The writer uses several unusual or absurd word combinations. What examples of unusual word pairings are there? 
Provoking Opinion

12. The given text is only one stanza from a longer poem. Do you think you would enjoy the rest of this poem? Why?
13. Fox in Socks is one of many works by Dr. Seuss. What do you think his main audience is? What is his work trying to achieve?
14. Can you think of any other writers, or any other work, that has a similar style to this piece?
15. Which do you think is more important to good writing: the content, or the style? Does this change depending on the format of the writing?

Acquainted with the Night
by Robert Frost

Know Your Book

Title: Acquainted with the Night
Author: Robert Frost (1874-1963)
Published: 1928
Language: English
Genre: Poetry
Synopsis: The poet wanders the city alone at night, describing the dark empty streets and few lonely individuals he sees and avoids. It is a joyless scene with which he is very familiar, having walked it before. This wandering in darkness is generally deemed an allegory for depression: despite being surrounded by society, the poet is alienated, without joy or companionship, and exploring darker corners of the soul.

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

1. Which of the following is not mentioned in the poem?

a) Sadness
b) Distance
c) Avoidance
d) Quiet
e) Death
2. Within the poem, nighttime may be seen as a metaphor for

a) social isolation and depression
b) failure and self-loathing
c) unrequited love
d) inner peace and calm
e) contentment and fondness of life
3. ‘I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet’ is an example of

a) personification
b) anaphora
c) rhyme
d) alliteration
e) allegory
4. The final two lines suggest the poet is

a) hopeful about future events
b) aware of his mental state
c) angry with how his life has turned out
d) bored by other people
e) recovering from a bad event
5. Although hugely contrasting in tone, both Fox in Sox and Acquainted with the Night use

alliteration to affect
a) rhyme structure
b) imagery
c) the narrative voice
d) authenticity
e) cadence


5. Tasks

Task 1: Create both an obvious and a subtle example of alliteration. Remember to note the different purposes of alliteration, and the types of work in which these appear.
Task 2: Write a descriptive paragraph that includes subtle use of alliteration. Remember that the cases of alliteration do not have to be immediately next to each other.