alliteration is one of
the many techniques you can use to make your writing more vivid
and powerful. The definiton of alliteration: "The occurrence
of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely
From (of all things) a movie
review by Desson Howe in the Washington Post:
"There he is, in all his glory, Brad Pitt, that beautiful,
chiseled chunk of celebrity manhood. You want him? Go see Fight
Club. You want action, muscle, and atmosphere? You want boys
bashing boys in bloody, living color? Fight Club is your flick,
To start with, we have "chiseled
chunk" ch and then ch
In the fourth sentence we have
"action, muscle, and atmosphere" ah and
Then "boys bashing boys
in bloody, living color" b, b, b, and b
Then "Fight Club is your
flick, dude" f and f
The point: the sound of the wordsalliterationreinforces
Here are some more examples:
"...hold on with a bull-dog
grip and chew and choke as much as possible"
Letter, President Lincoln to General Grant
"When somebody threatens me, he says, I usually tell
them to pack a picnic and stand in line."
Mikey Weinstein quoted in Marching As to War by Alan Cooperman
"A competitor once described [mining engineer Frank Holmes]
as 'a man of considerable personal charm, with a bluff, breezy,
blustering, buccaneering way about him'"
Daniel Yergin, The Prize
"Small heart had Harriet for visiting"
Jane Austen, Emma
As I cannot repeat often enough,
as a writer, your best teachers are the books you have already
read and truly loved the books that made you want to write
your own. (These books or may not get the Seal of Approval from
your English professorbut never mind. Some academics may
be artists, and some artists academics, but in general they are
creatures as different from one another as a coyote and a horse.
I disparage neither one.)
To repeat: As a writer, that
is to say, as an artist, your best teachers are the books you
have already read and truly loved. Pull one of those beloved
books off your bookshelf, have a read-through, see where and
how the author uses alliteration. Or not?
Once you recognize a technique
you can often spot it in, say, a newspaper article, a biography,
or an advertisement. More about reading as a writer
Help yourself to more resources
for writers on my Resources
for Writers page.