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Assonance is the repetion of vowel sounds to create internal linking within phrases or sentences, and together with alliteration and consonance[1] serves as one of the building blocks of verse. For example, in the phrase "Do you like blue?", the /uː/ ("o"/"ou"/"ue" sound) is repeated within the sentence and is assonant.

Assonance is found more often in verse than in prose. It is used in (mainly modern) English-language poetry, and is particularly important in Old French, Spanish and Celtic languages.

The eponymous student of Willy Russell's Educating Rita described it as "getting the rhyme wrong".


the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Edgar Allan Poe, "The Raven"
And murmuring of innumerable bees Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Princess VII.203
The crumbling thunder of seas Robert Louis Stevenson
That solitude which suits abstruser musings Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Frost at Midnight"
The scurrying furred small friars squeal in the dowse Dylan Thomas
Dead in the middle of little Italy, little did we know that we riddled two middle men who didn't do diddily." Big Pun, "Twinz"
It's hot and it's monotonous. Stephen Sondheim, Sunday in the Park with George, It's Hot Up Here
tundi tur unda Catullus 11
on a proud round cloud in white high night E.E. Cummings, if a Cheer Rules Elephant Angel Child Should Sit
I've never seen so many Dominican women with cinnamon tans Will Smith, "Miami"
I bomb atomically—Socrates' philosophies and hypotheses can't define how I be droppin' these mockeries. Inspectah Deck, from the Wu-Tang Clan's "Triumph."
Up in the arroyo a rare owl's nest I did spy, so I loaded up my shotgun and watched owl feathers fly Jon Wayne, Texas Assonance
Gradually kids who talked about Narnia kept getting balmier and balmier C.S. Lewis The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

J. R. R. Tolkien's Errantry is a poem whose meter contains three sets of trisyllabic assonances in every set of four lines.

Assonance can also be used in forming proverbs, often a form of short poetry. In the Oromo language of Ethiopia, note the use of a single vowel throughout the following proverb, an extreme form of assonance:

  • kan mana baala, aʔlaa gaala (“A leaf at home, but a camel elsewhere"; somebody who has a big reputation among those who do not know him well.)

In more modern verse, stressed assonance is frequently used as a rhythmic device in modern rap. An example is Public Enemy's 'Don't Believe The Hype': "Their pens and pads I snatch 'cause I've had it / I'm not an addict, fiending for static / I see their tape recorder and I grab it / No, you can't have it back, silly rabbit".

See also Edit



  1. Khurana, Ajeet "Assonance and Consonance" Outstanding Writing. [1]

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