Alliteration: What is Alliteration? How Do You Define Alliteration?

Alliteration: What is Alliteration? How Do You Define Alliteration?

Mar 03

In class 10, Sandra teacher acquainted us to the many joys of Figures of Speech. Some of them were tough to understand while others were a delight. One of the earliest figures of speech I got acquainted with was: Alliteration. We studied Alliteration with an example from the poem “I Vow to Thee, My Country” by Sir Cecil Spring-Rice. This poem had a beautiful Alliteration: And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase Read the above line slowly and enjoy the repeated “s” sound. Does it not add an amazing amount of music to the line. Imagine its equivalent, but without the repeated “s” sound: And one soul after another quietly her immaculate bounds increase That just does not do it, right? The repetition of a sound in consecutive words is called Alliteration. It is stylistic device which repeats a consonant sound for effect. On this blog, we do not like to split hair when it comes to English Usage. After all, rules of grammar, punctuation, and style should be our instruments and not our masters. But to avoid confusion, let me elaborate on Alliteration a bit more: 1) In an alliterative construct, the same consonant sound does not have to necessarily be present in consecutive words, it could also be in nearly consecutive words. 2) Some letters such as “c” can take more than one sound. Alliteration is about the sound, and not about the letter. Much worse, “silent” letters should be ignored and only the first sound should be considered. 3) Though Alliteration is a literary device, and not limited to being a poetic device, it is usually associated with poetry. As a result, many definitions of Alliteration would actually limit its use to poetry. 4) An Alliteration can easily be formed with a same sound in just two consecutive words, unlike the series of sound repetition the example I considered earlier. 5) Though I said that Alliteration is about a repeated consonant sound, I was not entirely right, as Alliteration can be of two types: consonance and assonance. The Alliteration with repeated consonant sound is consonance. But let me not go further down this road, as this article will get too complicated if I do. Some day, I will write about assonance and consonance. So that I can not hammered by purists, let me point out that some grammarians regard Alliteration to be a...

Understanding the Parallelism in the Parallel Construction of a Sentence Structure

Understanding the Parallelism in the Parallel Construction of a Sentence Structure

Feb 21

Parallel construction of a sentence, refers to the situation where there is a proper list of similar words, or maybe phrases, that are listed as part of the same sentence. The basic idea behind such a construction is that all similar components of a sentence should be presented in the same way. This “same way” is referred to as parallelism. For instance, consider the following sentence: I think that the pizza is spicy, large, juicy, and was too heavy. Can you immediately detect the problem with the above sentence? Clearly the “and was too heavy” is the problem area. Spicy, large, and juicy are adjectives structured in a similar fashion. The correct sentence in this case would have been: I think that the pizza was spicy, large, juicy, and heavy. Now we have managed to get the “heavy” in the same structure as the previous three adjectives. Hence we say that we have made the word “heavy” parallel in its construction to the other similar words. Note: Parallelism in a sentence is not restricted to the use of adjectives only. We could have parallel nouns, parallel infinitives, parallel phrases, parallel gerunds, or parallel clauses. Consider the example: I like to play music, to work on my computer, and drawing pictures. If you have closely read what I have said so far in the article, you will realize that there are three clauses in the sentence that begin with the infinitive form. There is the “to play music,” followed by the “to work on my computer,” which should naturally have been followed by “to draw pictures,” not “drawing pictures.” I think you get the idea. If there are similar elements in a sentence, they should be presented in the same way. That is the fundamental idea behind parallel construction. Parallel construction is also referred to as parallel structure in a sentence, or as parallelism. Let us consider one more example. Think of it as an exercise to decide whether we are able to deal with parallelism. How would you correct the following sentence? I want to make sure that you complete your homework, draw the picture, and playing chess. So what exactly is the problem? The problem is that the above sentence breaks down into three separate sentences that do not go well together: I want to make sure that you complete your homework. I want to make sure that...