Alliteration: Definition and Examples of Alliteration in Conversation & Literature

Alliteration may be a subject which you have wondered about. What is it? How can it be used? These are all valid questions and can be simply answered. When looking at the English language, one will notice alliteration in a variety of contexts, in order to further understand the use of alliteration, it is important to look at examples of how it can work. In this article, we are going to take a look at the use of alliteration in both a written, literature context as well as how it can be used in everyday speech. We will also be looking at a clear definition of exactly what alliteration is.


What Is Alliteration?

Alliteration is a repetition of a sound, or letter within a sentence. The sound appears at the beginning of adjacent words or words which are very closely connected.

When used as a figure of speech, alliteration can add flavour and creativity to a sentence. Alliteration can also be used as a literary device where it adds rhythm and a mood to the text it is found within. In some instances, it can create a better air of understanding within a certain piece of descriptive writing. For example, when using the letter S to describe a snake, the sound fits the description. An example of a sentence to demonstrate this might be ‘the slimy, slithery snake skulked along the sand.’

Alliteration Examples

Alliteration in Conversation

Whilst alliteration is more commonly used within literature, there are many examples of its use within day to day conversation. For example, some common tongue twisters, which are used as a speech exercise, contain alliteration. Let’s take a look at some examples of things you are likely to hear when alliteration is used in speech.

  • Peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, a peck of pickled peppers did Peter piper pick.
  • She sells sea shells on the sea shore.
  • Barry’s beagle barked at Bobby, becoming rather bothersome.
  • Fran’s friends fetched fajitas for food on Friday.
  • Rudolph the red nosed reindeer rode along a rickety road.
  • As busy as a bee.
  • Gilbert gave up the ghost.
  • Dora was as dead as a doornail.
  • Larry was left in the lurch.
  • Martin made a mountain out of a molehill.
  • I sat by the babbling brook to read my brilliant book.
  • He bounced the blue ball.
  • I am blessed with brilliant beauty.
  • She cooked carbonara in the kitchen.
  • Do not dilly-dally in the dawn.
  • The grass grows greener on the other side.
  • I happily hold the hamster.
  • Linda liked to lick her lips.
  • The millionaire had much more money than me.
  • My niece is normally noisy at night.
  • The black bug has bitten the big brown boar.
  • Sheep should sleep in a shelter.
  • The cook cooked cookies in the cooker of the kitchen.
  • How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?
  • Show Shaun Shawna’s chic shoes.
  • Sammy swiftly sheared seven silly sheep.

Alliteration in Literature

As we have already learned, alliteration is used as a literary device in order to add mood and rhythm to a piece of writing, it is a common technique used by authors. We are now going to take a look at some examples of times when alliteration has been used within literature.

  • In the poem written by Sir Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven we see an example of alliteration in many instances throughout, one of these reads as follows; “deep into darkness.” Another example in this poem is “Doubts in dreaming dreams.”
  • Written by John Milton, the poem Paradise Lost, we see an example of alliteration in the line “Behemoth big born out of earth.”
  • In a piece written by William Langland, there is an example of alliteration in the line “A May morning on the Malvern hills.”
  • Emily Dickinson writes a good example of alliteration in her piece The soul selects its own society, in the title of the piece.
  • In The old man and the sea by Ernest Hemingway, we see an example of alliteration in the line “still steadily swimming in the sea.”
  • In the play Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare, there is an example of alliteration being used when we read the line “Forth from the fatal groins of these foes.”
  • In the piece Thank you for a thistle written by Dorie Thurston, an example of alliteration is seen in the line “why is not the golden goldfinch going to the goody?”
  • F Scott Fitzgerald wrote the novel, The great Gatsby in which we see some good examples of alliteration, including the line “we beated on, boats on the current, born back endlessly to the past.”
  • In the piece 3 grey geese by Mother goose stories, there is a good example of alliteration when we read the line “These grey geese in the green field, grazing, the geese were grey and the green was grazing.”
  • Betty Botter is a piece written by Caroline Wells in which we see alliteration being used in the following sentence, “Betty brought some butter but she said the butter was bitter.”
  • Travis Nichols writes a piece called Betty’s burgled bakery in which we see many examples of alliteration, one of these examples can be seen in the line “the cupboards and counters were cleared completely of cake, crackers and corn.”
  • Pamela Duncan Edwards writes the piece Some smug slug in which various examples of alliteration can be seen, one of these examples is written in the line “the slug started to slowly scale the steep surface.”


Alliteration is a way of adding a rhythm or flavour to either spoken conversation or within written text. It requires the use of repeated letters or sounds at the beginning of words within one sentence. The letters do not have to be the same as one another, they simply have to make the same sound. for example, the letters C and K make the same sound and when used together would still be a form of alliteration. When used as a literary device, alliteration can emphasise a piece of the writing, making it stand out more to the reader, for this reason it is very common within written work.

Alliteration Infographic