Alliteration Explained for Screenwriters (2023)

What is alliteration? You may conclude comprehension because alliteration is everywhere. Always ask anyway! Question and be curious! Because alliteration words sometimes share special, specific significance not explicitly evident. Wise writers accept that meaning might manifest in a multifaceted manner, as we shall see shortly!

Applying Alliteration

What is the Meaning of Alliteration?

In discerning differences, we will review alliteration definitions and examples, including examples in pop songs, marketing, literature and comic books. We will also discover how common alliteration words are in cinema -- especially in movie titles and character names, but also within character dialogue. Using Studiobinder’s Script Breakdown program, we will do a scene study from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to show alliteration meaning at work.

ALLITERATION DEFINITION

What is Alliteration?

Alliteration is a literary technique derived from Latin, meaning “letters of the alphabet.” It occurs when two or more words are linked that share the same first consonant sound, such as “fish fry.” Some famous examples of alliteration sentences include:

  • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
  • Sally sells seashells by the sea shore.
  • How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
  • “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation,” Martin Luther King.

The sound, not the letter, is the most important element of alliteration meaning, as not all adjacent words sharing first consonants amount to alliteration. ‘Kitty cat’ and ‘fish phobia’ are considered alliteration examples, but not “thirty typists,” because ‘th’ and ‘ty’ don’t sound the same.

Other Common Alliteration Words:

  • Cream of the crop
  • French fry
  • Hit the hay
  • Pecan pie
  • Super-Size
  • Tough talk
  • Trick or treat

Discerning Differences

Alliteration Vs. Assonance

Some alliteration definitions include words that begin with vowels or vowel sounds, while others hold that alliterative words can only begin with consonants. In these definitions, adjacent words beginning with vowel sounds are sometimes considered ‘assonance.’

Alliteration meaning: Designating distinctions

The narrator describes the difference between alliteration and assonance in the video and gives examples of each. Other examples include:

  • Accidental acceptance
  • Eagle eye
  • Imaginative improvisation
  • Open ocean
  • Umpire union

What is Alliteration in familiar phrases?

Using Alliteration

Because alliteration is catchy and easy to remember, it is often used in songs, business and advertising. Some alliteration examples in song lyrics include:

  • “My mind makes marvelous moves, masses / Marvel and move, many mock what I've mastered,” Blackalicious -- Alphabet Aerobics
  • “Little old lady got mutilated late last night.” -- Warren Zevon - Werewolves of London
  • “Whisper words of wisdom …” -- The Beatles - Let It Be
  • “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” -- Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

Check out more alliteration examples in this video.

(Video) The pleasure of poetic pattern - David Silverstein

Alliteration examples: Hip hop hooks

Business and marketing make frequent use of alliteration words for the same reason as pop music: a catchy, rhythmic phrase or title is easy to remember, especially if set to music. Alliterative sounds set to music easily get stuck in people’s heads, which is exactly what both pop music and advertising and marketing are trying to achieve. Here are some famous brands with alliterative names.

Alliteration Explained for Screenwriters (1)

Alliteration words: Business Brands

These are just a few of many famous brands that alliterate. Others include:

  • American Apparel
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • Kit Kat
  • Lululemon
  • Muscle Milk
  • Planter’s Peanuts
  • Tater-Tots

Formal functions of Alliteration Words

What is Alliteration in Literature?

Let’s define alliteration in literature. Writers have used alliteration for centuries across literary forms and genres, from poetry and drama, to novels and children’s books. Depending on the author’s intent, alliteration may function to emphasize a certain section of text; create an aesthetic linguistic effect; evoke musical and rhythmic sounds; or make a poem or speech easier to remember and recite.

Alliteration examples in poetry include:

  • “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes . . .” Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
  • “Burning bright,” and “frame thy fearful symmetry,” William Blake, Tyger
  • “The fair breeze blow, the white foam flew / The furrow followed free,” Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
    Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, —
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,” Edgar Allen Poe,
    The Raven

As explained above, the sound, not the letter, is the most important element of alliteration, as not all adjacent words sharing first consonants amount to alliteration. The line from The Raven featuring “quaint and curious” is this type of alliteration example.

DEFINE ALLITERATION IN LITERATURE

ALLITERATION IN BEOWULF

A literary classic famous for its use of alliteration is the long poem Beowulf, written in Old English between the 8th and 11th centuries.

Works like Beowulf were meant to be read aloud, using alliteration to help readers remember the story. Lines from the poem include:

  • “To feast his fill of the flesh of men.”
  • “Gulped the blood, and gobbled the flesh.”
  • “He found them sprawled in sleep, suspecting nothing, their dreams undisturbed / Up from his swampland, sliding silently. Toward that gold-shining hall.”

We can also define alliteration in literature using character names:

  • Humbert Humbert: Lolita
  • Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey: The Hobbit
  • Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov: Crime and Punishment
  • Peter Pevensie: The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Sansa Stark, Lancel Lannister, Podrick Payne: A Song of Ice and Fire
(Video) How I Wrote Arrival

Alliteration Explained for Screenwriters (2)

Snazzy Sansa

Alliteration is particularly prevalent in children’s literature because it makes language fun and easy to listen to. Studies also show that alliteration words enhance children’s ability to remember material and to later repeat it.

Examples include works by Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein.

  • “David Donald Doo dreamed a dozen doughnuts and a duck-dog, too,” Dr. Seuss
  • “Many mumbling mice are making midnight music in the moonlight,” Dr. Seuss
  • “We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow / and watch where the chalk-white arrows go,” Shel Silverstein
  • I saw an ol' gnome/ Take a gknock at a gnat / Who was gnibbling the gnose of his gnu.”

As you can see, Silverstein even created nonsense words just so that he could alitterate!

JK Rowling frequently uses alliteration in her Harry Potter novels, because the books are for and about children. She also uses it to express the essence of her whimsical world of witches and wizards

Alliteration Explained for Screenwriters (3)

Notable nomenclature •Harry Potter

Many of the Harry Potter characters in the chart have alliterative names, and not all of these start their first and last name with the same letter. Some have names featuring alliterative sounds, such as AlBUS DUMbledoere (the UH sound of each U) and BelLAtrix LEstrange, with the LA/LE sounds alliterating. CeDErick DIggory repeats prominent D sounds.

Alliteration Meaning

What does Alliteration Mean in Comics?

Like Harry Potter and other works for children, comic books are also famous for alliterative character names. Some prominent alliteration examples in comic books include:

  • Billy Batson / Captain Marvel
  • Bruce Banner / The Incredible Hulk
  • Cassandra Cain / Batgirl
  • Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, Lana Lang / Superman
  • Jessica Jones / Jessica Jones
  • Matt Murdock / Daredevil
  • Peter Parker, The Green Goblin, J. Jonah Jameson / Spider-Man
  • Scott Summers / The X-Men
  • Stephen Strange / Doctor Strange
  • Susan Storm, Reed Richards / Fantastic Four
  • Wally West / The Flash
  • Wade Winston Wilson / Deadpool

In this video, the narrator explains why alliterative character names are so prevalent in Marvel comics in particular.

What's an alliteration

As the narrator describes, alliteration has a particularly pleasant effect on our brains, which like to recognize patterns. This leads to the positive associations comic book authors want readers to have with their work. After all, positive associations often lead to profitable projects!

Other literary devices that work on our brain to create rhythm and meaning include symbolism and onomatopoeia.

(Video) "What is Ekphrasis?": A Literary Guide for English Students and Teachers

Related Posts

  • What is Symbolism? →
  • Tips for Writing Better Dialogue →
  • Literary Devices for Screenwriters →

What is alliteration in movies?

Alliterate to Attract Audiences

Thousands of novel and film titles are alliterative. Like company and brand names, short catchy titles are memorable and easy to market -- even to global audiences who may not speak much English, or who can more easily recognize words phonetically.

The best of them can also be very economical in conveying the essence of a movie. Here are some of the alliteration examples of movie titles just for one letter -- M. For hundreds more from A-Z, visit this site.

Alliteration Explained for Screenwriters (4)

Alliteration example: Teeming with titles

What does alliteration mean to screenwriters? Properly used, it can prove pragmatic and profitable. Want to both signal a Batman origin story, as well as set it apart from earlier installments? You could barely do better than Batman Begins.

Need to indicate who is at the center of a film, as well as give an idea of his effect on audiences? How about Magic Mike?

What Women Want -- here’s a movie with answers, the title slyly suggests.

And while Unusual Day Before the Weekend delivers the data, it certainly can’t compete with the juicy jolt of Freaky Friday.

Alliteration Explained for Screenwriters (5)

What is alliteration in film?

Screenwriters can also apply alliteration to movie character names and quotes. Some famous alliterative movie character names include:

  • Benjamin Button
  • Bobby Boucher
  • Buckaroo Banzai
  • Donnie Darko
  • King Kong
  • Marty McFly
  • Roger Rabbit
  • Steve Stifler
  • Tracy Turnblad
  • Vincent Vega
  • Willy Wonka

Characters may also express themselves alliteratively as a way to convey personality traits such as eccentricity or precision.

In this clip from V for Vendetta (2005), the masked freedom fighter V uses alliteration. Sentences convey that he is both a learned man and a showman who makes grand gestures as a way to draw attention to his cause.

(Video) Screenwriting Masterclass | Masters of Dialogue

What does alliteration sound like?

Whats an alliteration?

Scene Study

As discussed above, JK Rowling uses alliteration extensively throughout her Harry Potter universe, for character names and places, as well as dialogue. Here is an example from the movie version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, written by Steve Kloves:

Alliteration Words: Professorial palaver

What does alliteration mean to Minerva? As with V in V for Vendetta, McGonagall’s alliterative dialogue expresses the nature of her character - an erudite educator and whimsical wizard. Also, as someone who engages with children often, she is intermittently inclined to intone nursery rhymes.

Here you can see how alliteration is woven into the written script of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. As in the filmed scene, there is alliteration in the dialogue. But the writer even includes alliteration in the description of the action (“wolf whistle”) to help enhance the flavor on the page.

Alliteration Explained for Screenwriters (6)

Kloves adapts the essence of the character and the alliterative dialogue from the novel. The zippy and playful dialogue helps the actors understand the tone of the scene and how to perform it.

UP NEXT

What is a Metaphor?

Alliteration is one of many figurative language devices screenwriters should be in command of, along with metaphor, allusion, similes, onomatopoeia, and personification, among others. Now that we have explained alliteration with examples, let’s look at some metaphors and explore how they are used in storytelling.

Up Next: What is a Metaphor? →

FAQs

How do you write alliteration answer? ›

Alliteration is when two or more words that start with the same sound are used repeatedly in a phrase or a sentence. The repeated sound creates the alliteration, not the same letter. For example, 'tasty tacos' is considered an alliteration, but 'thirty typist' is not, because 'th' and 'ty' don't sound the same.

How do you interpret alliteration? ›

Alliteration is the repetition of the same sound at the start of a series of words in succession whose purpose is to provide an audible pulse that gives a piece of writing a lulling, lyrical, and/or emotive effect. This paragraph is an example of alliteration.

What are 3 examples of alliteration? ›

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Sally sells seashells by the sea shore. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Which is the best example of alliteration? ›

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked? A good cook could cook as many cookies as a good cook who could cook cookies. Black bug bit a big black bear.

Can alliteration be 2 words? ›

Another term for alliteration is “initial rhyme,” because it's literally the reverse of a rhyme—instead of repeating a sound at the end of two or more words, alliteration is repeating a sound at the beginning of two or more words.

Does alliteration have to be 3 words? ›

To create alliteration, you need two or more words that start with the same consonant sound. It's important to focus on the sound rather than the letter because it is the sound that catches the audience's attention.

What is alliteration simple words? ›

/əˌlɪt̬.əˈreɪ.ʃən/ the use, especially in poetry, of the same sound or sounds, especially consonants, at the beginning of several words that are close together: "Round the rugged rocks the ragged rascal ran" uses alliteration.

Why is alliteration used in writing? ›

Using alliteration in the text and a repeated rhythm would be very striking and more memorable for the reader. So alliteration can be used to inject mood or emotion into a piece of writing. It can also be used to add rhythm and emphasis, which helps to make the context more memorable.

Which is the best definition of alliteration? ›

Definition of alliteration

: the repetition of usually initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words or syllables (such as wild and woolly, threatening throngs) — called also head rhyme, initial rhyme.

What are 2 examples of alliteration in the poem? ›

Examples of Alliteration in Poetry

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping. Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.

Is alliteration a figure of speech? ›

Among the different figures of speech, some show their effect through repetition. It can be a repetition of words that look and sound alike — those with similar consonant sounds or those with similar vowel sounds. In this article, you will be introduced to one such figure of speech called alliteration.

How do you describe alliteration in a poem? ›

Poetic Devices: Alliteration - Examples & Meaning - YouTube

What are the 4 types of figure of speech with examples? ›

In this lesson we look at four common types of figure of speech:
  • Simile. A figure of speech that says that one thing is like another different thing.
  • Metaphor. A figure of speech that says that one thing is another different thing.
  • Hyperbole. ...
  • Oxymoron.

What's another word for alliteration? ›

What is another word for alliteration?
assonanceconsonance
rhymingrhyme
repetitionechoing
vowel-chimerecurrence
iterationduplication
2 more rows

What is an example of alliteration in a story? ›

What is Alliteration? Alliteration is a literary device in which a series of words start with the same consonant sound to create a rhythmic repetition. “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers” is a classic example of alliteration.

Which is not an example of alliteration? ›

Answer: Favour fire is not an example of alliteration...

How do you make alliterations? ›

Alliteration is the repetition of the same sound or letter at the beginning of each or most of the words in a sentence. The easiest way to use alliteration would be to repeat the starting letter of the words.

Does alliteration have to rhyme? ›

Similarity and near similarity in rhyme and alliteration

However, in particular poetic traditions or for particular poets or poems, words can rhyme or alliterate if they share sounds that are alike but not identical.

Can alliteration start with a vowel? ›

alliteration, in prosody, the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words or stressed syllables. Sometimes the repetition of initial vowel sounds (head rhyme) is also referred to as alliteration.

Is Coca Cola an alliteration? ›

Coca-Cola employs all four patterns. The repetition of the hard “C” sound at the beginning of both words creates an alliteration. The “oh” and the “ah” sounds in both words create both assonance and rhyme. That first word alone, “Coca,” creates a sense of consonance – combining that hard “C” sound with a vowel change.

Is alliteration only at the beginning of a word? ›

Alliteration: repetition of initial or medial consonants in two or more adjacent words. Repeated consonant sounds at the beginning of words is called initial alliteration. Repeated consonant sounds in the middle or at the ends of words is called internal alliteration.

What is alliteration of B called? ›

repetition of 'p'/'b' sounds is called plosive alliteration. repetition of 'd'/'t' sounds is called dental alliteration. the main purpose of alliteration is to emphasise other techniques. consonant.

Is alliteration a vocabulary? ›

Alliteration is when you use words that have the same sound at the beginning, like "Stellar students synthesize sweet sentences." It's a time-honored poetic device to make a string of words start with the same consonant sound, and that is what alliteration labels.

How does alliteration affect tone? ›

Create Mood or Tone

The sound of alliteration can help create the mood or tone of a poem or piece of prose. For example, repetition of the “s” sound often suggests a snake-like quality, implying slyness and danger. Softer sounds like “h” or “l” may create a more introspective or romantic mood or tone.

How many words does an alliteration require? ›

Alliteration is when two or more words in a sentence all begin with the same sound.

How do you write an alliterative sentence? ›

How to Write an Alliteration
  1. Think of the subject you want to emphasize.
  2. Think of words that relate to the subject and begin with the same sound.
  3. Place those words closely together in a sentence.

What are 2 examples of alliteration in the poem? ›

Examples of Alliteration in Poetry

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping. Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.

What are 5 examples of assonance? ›

Other Common Examples Of Assonance
  • Chips and dips (Repetition of the /i/ vowel sound)
  • Surf and turf (Repetition of the /u/ vowel sound)
  • Go slow over the road (Repetition of the short /o/ vowel sound)
  • Do good have good (Repetition of the /oo/ vowel sound)
  • No pain, no gain (Repetition of the /ai/ vowel sound)

What is an example of alliteration in a story? ›

What is Alliteration? Alliteration is a literary device in which a series of words start with the same consonant sound to create a rhythmic repetition. “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers” is a classic example of alliteration.

What is alliteration 7th grade? ›

Alliteration happens when words that start with the same sound (not just the same letter) are used repeatedly in a line or sentence or even a phrase. The sound is a consonant, and the words don't have to be next to one another.

How do I make an alliteration? ›

Alliteration is the repetition of the same sound or letter at the beginning of each or most of the words in a sentence. The easiest way to use alliteration would be to repeat the starting letter of the words.

How do you describe alliteration in a poem? ›

Poetic Devices: Alliteration - Examples & Meaning - YouTube

How do you make alliteration poems? ›

How to Write an Alliterative Poem
  1. Choose a letter from the alphabet. ...
  2. Think of a noun that begins with this letter and write it down. ...
  3. Add an adjective to describe the noun that begins with the same letter or sound and write it down. ...
  4. Write down a verb that begins with the same letter or sound.

What is an example of anaphora? ›

Here's a quick and simple definition: Anaphora is a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences. For example, Martin Luther King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech contains anaphora: "So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

What is sibilance used for? ›

Sibilance is a hissing sound that's created as a result of the letter "s" or other letter combinations. Sibilance is often used as an alliteration device in poetry and literature to evoke an immersive response in the reader.

What is Enjambment example? ›

Enjambment is the continuation of a sentence or clause across a line break. For example, the poet John Donne uses enjambment in his poem "The Good-Morrow" when he continues the opening sentence across the line break between the first and second lines: "I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I / Did, till we loved?

Which is the best definition of alliteration? ›

Definition of alliteration

: the repetition of usually initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words or syllables (such as wild and woolly, threatening throngs) — called also head rhyme, initial rhyme.

What are alliterative words? ›

Alliteration is a literary device where each word in a string of words starts with the same consonant (as opposed to assonance, in which a vowel sound is repeated). One use of alliteration is to place emphasis on the words which all start with the same sound. Another practice is to use consonants to create an image.

What is alliteration essay? ›

A common stylistic literary device is Alliteration, which is a writing technique in which two or more words begin with the same sound. Understanding how to use Alliteration and how to use alliteration while writing can help you when you write poems, short stories, and essays.

Is alliteration a figure of speech? ›

Among the different figures of speech, some show their effect through repetition. It can be a repetition of words that look and sound alike — those with similar consonant sounds or those with similar vowel sounds. In this article, you will be introduced to one such figure of speech called alliteration.

Can C and K be alliteration? ›

To put it more simply: alliteration is when the beginning sounds of words repeat. It is important to note that alliteration is about the sounds of words, not the letters; therefore, the letter “k” and “c” can be used alliteratively (as in kitchen and cookie), as well as the letter “s” and “c” (as in sparkle and cycle).

What is the effect of alliteration? ›

So alliteration can be used to inject mood or emotion into a piece of writing. It can also be used to add rhythm and emphasis, which helps to make the context more memorable. Putting these two things together becomes a powerful thing when you are writing a piece to persuade people of something.

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