Alliteration is a great way to create a specific mood or add emphasis when writing! Read our guide with the best alliteration examples to inspire you.
Alliteration involves a series of words that begin with the same letter or sound. It’s a literary device commonly used in story-telling, and it can be found everywhere, from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner to brand names like Paypal and Dunkin’ Donuts.
Alliteration is a great way to add fun characters to writing and inject personality into brand marketing. But, it can be hard to spot alliteration when it’s used well; that’s why we’ve rounded up the best examples so you can check out how to implement alliteration successfully in your writing. Grammarly is one of our top grammar checkers. Find out why in this Grammarly review.
- Alliteration Tongue Twisters
- Alliteration in Character Names
- Alliteration in Song Lyrics
- Alliteration in Phrases in Poetry
- Alliteration in Nursery Rhyme
- Alliteration in Novels
- Alliteration in Novel Titles
- Alliteration in Speeches
- Alliteration in Brand Names
- Alliteration in Slogans
- Alliteration in Words and Sayings
- What is Assonance?
- What About Onomatopoeia?
Alliteration Tongue Twisters
Tongue twisters are some of the best places to spot alliteration: repeating the first letters makes for a fun and fast challenge! Try out some of these for size.
- She sells seashells on the seashore.
- Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers… where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
- I saw Susie sitting in a shoeshine shop.
- Wayne went to Wales to watch walruses.
- Which witch is which?
- Can you can a can as a canner can can a can?
Alliteration in Character Names
Some of the most popular and well-known character names boast first and last names containing the same first letters. Below are just a small selection of these tremendous tags!
- Lois Lane
- Mickey Mouse
- Donnie Darko
- Benjamin Button
- The Wicked Witch of the West
- Miss Muffet
- Luna Lovegood
- Peter Pan
*(And it’d be remiss not to mention Enid Bylton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven, too!)
Alliteration in Song Lyrics
You may be surprised at how often song lyrics use repeated consonant sounds to add a powerful effect. Bands from The Beatles to Green Day have used alliteration to drive their narrative, set the mood, and emphasize elements of the song. Once you’re listening out for them, you’ll hear alliterative lyrics everywhere.
- Whisper words of wisdom, let it be – The Beatles
- They paved paradise and put up a parking lot – Joni Mitchell
- And baby, now we’ve got bad blood – Taylor Swift
- The salty lips of the socialist sisters – Elvis Costello
- Women seem wicked when you’re unwanted – The Doors
- Time will tell if we stand the test of time – Van Halen
- For what it’s worth, it was worth all the while – Green Day
- I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a king – Frank Sinatra
Alliteration in Phrases in Poetry
Some of the most famous examples of alliteration in the English language can be found in poetry. Alliteration has long been used as a literary device to underscore rhythm, set the tone, and create flow.
- Deep into the darkness peering – The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe
- I a waiting here to see / Which the winning one will be – Waiting at the Window, A.A. Milne
- From forth the fatal loins of these two foes – Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
- Behemoth, biggest born of earth, upheaved – Paradise Lost, John Milton
- And the balls like pulses beat; / For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- Where the smoke blows black – Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein
- Pretty women wonder where my secret lies – Phenomenal Women, Maya Angelou
- But the plural of pan is never pen – Why English is Hard to Learn, Anonymous
- But at my back in a cold blast I hear – The Waste Land, T.S Eliot
- Of maids and youths, old men, and matrons staid – The Prelude, William Wordsworth
Alliteration in Nursery Rhyme
It’s not just song lyrics and poetry that use alliteration – it can also be found in many nursery rhymes! The repeated consonant sounds make learning these rhymes easier and add a lilting quality to the rhythm of the lines.
- Betty Botter bought some butter.
- Wee Willy Winky ran through the town.
- Sing a song of sixpence.
- A sailor went to sea, sea, sea / To see what he could see see see.
- Little Boy Blue come blow your horn.
- Baa baa black sheep.
Alliteration in Novels
Authors typically deploy an arsenal of figurative language tools when writing a novel, and alliteration is just one of the strings to their literary bows. It can grab the reader’s attention, encouraging them to pay particular attention to a specific passage, support a simile or metaphor, or enhance the comedic effect! Learning how to tell stories isn’t always easy. If you’re looking for a course, check out our review of Neil Gaiman’s Masterclass.
- …his appearance: something displeasing, something downright detestable – The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
- A moist young moon hung above the mist of a neighboring meadow – Conclusive Evidence, Vladimir Nabokov
- The man took strong sharp sudden bites, just like the dog – Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
- Inside every girl, a secret swan slumbers – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling
- ‘Take a shovel,’ said Slim shortly – Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
- To live was to leave behind – England Made Me, Graham Green
- The boys began to babble – Lord of the Flies, William Golding
- Fame is a fickle friend – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling
Alliteration in Novel Titles
If you’ve written a novel and are keen to see it stand out from the competition, then an alliterative title could be the way to go! All the below books stick in the reader’s mind due to their plots, characters – and memorable handles.
- The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
- Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
- A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
- Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
- Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
- Nicholas Nickleby– Charles Dickens
- Revolting Rhymes – Roald Dahl
Alliteration in Speeches
Some of the most famous speeches that have ever been delivered used alliteration to create an emotional response or connection with the audience or generate auditory interest.
- Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation – I Have a Dream, Martin Luther King Jr.
- Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth – 1863 Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln
- We shall fight in the fields – We Shall Fight on the Beaches, Winston Churchill
- They had that special grace, that special spirit – The Space Shuttle ‘Challenger’ Tragedy Address, Ronald Reagan
Alliteration in Brand Names
When it comes to brand names, alliterative words can help a business stick in people’s minds, boosting that all-important brand recognition factor and increasing market share.
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- Grey Goose
- Best Buy
Alliteration in Slogans
It’s not just brand names – companies are also wise to the power of alliteration in marketing campaigns.
- Don’t Dream it, Drive It – Jaguar
- Intel Inside – Intel
- The Daily Diary of the American Dream – Wall Street Journal
- What We Want is Watney’s – Watney’s Bread
- You’ll Never Put a Bit of Better Butter on Your Knife – Country Life Butter
Alliteration in Words and Sayings
You may not realize how often you use alliteration in your everyday life. Some of English’s most well-known and used sayings incorporate the same first consonant sounds.
- Busy as a Bee
- Mad as a March hare
- Make a mountain out of a molehill
- Right as rain
- Pleased as punch
- Mind over matter
- A word to the wise
Tip! When editing for grammar, we also recommend taking the time to improve the readability score of a piece of writing before publishing or submitting it.
What is Assonance?
Alliteration and assonance are very similar: whereas alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds, assonance relates to the repetition of vowel sounds in words’ stressed syllables. Examples of this device can also be found in many works of literature.
- Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary – The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe
- I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them, Sam I Am – Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss
- Or if some time when roaming round – How to Tell Wild Animals, Carolyn Wells
- My bounty is boundless as the sea – Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
What About Onomatopoeia?
Like alliteration, onomatopoeia is a literary device. It’s the use (or creation) of a word that sounds like, or suggests, the thing it’s describing. For example, the word ‘sizzle’ imitates the sound it relates to. It can help the reader immerse themselves in the story, and better visualize the scene.
Other examples of these words include crash, cuckoo, buzz, and hiss. Below are some examples of the use of onomatopoeia in poetry.
- How they clang, clash, and roar / What a horror they outpour – The Bells, Edgar Allan Poe
- Hark, hark! I hear / The strain of strutting chanticleer / Cry ‘cock-a-diddle-dow’! – The Tempest, William Shakespeare
- There was a rustling that seemed like a bustling / Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling / Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering – The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Robert Browning
- It SHUSHES / It hushes / The loudness in the road / It flitter-twitters / And laughs away from me – Cynthia in the Snow, Gwendolyn Brooks