Daily Archives: October 25, 2011

Playing with words again

I have said before that I like playing with words.  I awoke early this morning, too early to get up and start the day, so I started to read a thriller I picked up at the library yesterday.  It is called  “Trigger City” by Sean Chercover and I came across this wonderful example of alliteration :

“Flower-boxes displayed dying dwarf dahlias in differing degrees of decay”

Isn’t that wonderful.  This was dropped into the middle of a paragraph describing the outward appearance of a property.  I am sure it wasn’t put there without a lot of thought but nowhere else in the book could I find any alliteration.

Alliteration is defined as “the repetition of the leading consonant sound in each word throughout a sentence or a phrase. Alliteration is commonly used in poetry and tongue twisters. It is also sometimes used in advertising taglines and business names to make them more memorable.” according to wiki-answers and “the use of the same consonant or vowel at the beginning of each word” according to my Collins Dictionary which goes on to give the example of “round the rocks the ragged rascal ran”  Alliteration in literature, prose or poetry is used mainly to introduce style and make the piece of writing more memorable.

So consider these examples :

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

    Robert Frost – Acquainted with the Night
  • Once upon a midnight dreary, while
    I pondered, weak and weary,
    Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,

    Edgar Alan Poe – The Raven
  • “So we beat on, boats against the current,
    borne back ceaselessly into the past.

    F Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby
  • For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky
    Lay like a load on my weary eye,
    And the dead were at my feet.

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge – the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
  • Perhaps to-morrow you will see her sail.
    She sails at sunrise:
    John Masefield – The Wanderer
  • Silence surged softly backwards and
    forests ferny floor
    The Listeners – Walter De La Mare

And of course there are many instances of alliteration used in advertising:

  • Jaguar – Don’t dream it; drive it
  • Greyhound Going Great
  • Landrover – The best four by four by far

And Brand Names:

  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Pay Pal
  • Best Buy
  • Borders Books
  • Corporate Caterers
  • Perfect Party Planners
  • Absolute Accountants
  • Coca Cola

And people’s names

  • Ronald Regan
  • Jesse James
  • Jesse Jackson
  • Michael Moore
  • William Wordsworth
  • Mickey Mouse &
  • Donald Duck

The other form of alliteration is sound, where the words have the same sounding beginnings but are not spelled in the same way

  • Funny phone
  • Quality kebabs – sorry can’t think of any others.  Can you?

And from the Wizard of Oz:

“Step forward, Tin Man. You dare to come to me for a heart, do you? You clinking, clanking, clattering collection of caliginous junk…And you, Scarecrow, have the effrontery to ask for a brain! You billowing bale of bovine fodder!”

On the way to Oz

This game could go on and on ad infinitum.  Until I fall fast asleep on my feet.