Alliteration

What’s So Great About Peter Piper’s Peppers?

Okay, folks. Let’s talk more about rhetorical devices.

I promise you’re not going back to English class, here — not much, anyway. Rhetorical devices are just nifty language tricks that will make your audience read your work. That’s it. Simple, easy to learn, and incredibly effective.

Last time we discussed what rhetorical devices are (nifty word tricks), why they work (your brain likes patterns), why they’re important (your readers will keep reading), and which four devices are important for bloggers (alliteration, assonance, rhyme and meter.) Next up … alliteration!

Alliteration is the name for a series of identical initial consonants distributed throughout a phrase.

Big name for a simple concept, isn’t it? Alliteration is just the repetition of a consonant sound. It’s especially effective if you use it in words located near or next to each other. For instance, I used alliteration on an S in the header of my first blog post. “Say it in one second” is a five-word phrase in which two words begin with an S. That’s a high ratio of S to other consonants in a short phrase; your brain hasn’t had time to forget the first S before it hears the second one. And as we talked about last time, your brain likes patterns. Hearing the same sound twice in a row is like hearing people clap their hands in rhythm. It pleases some part of us, and makes us want to join in.

You definitely want your audience to want to join in your content. That’s a huge plus, right there.

So that’s it — alliteration in a nutshell. But if you want more about the nuts and bolts of the device … read on!

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Why Words Matter: Rhetorical Devices

To have and to hold.

In my last post I discussed grabbing your audience quickly. But that leaves one important question: How?

By using time-tested combinations of sounds to create phrases that interest your audience, you can engage them quickly and often on an entirely unconscious level. These tools are called rhetorical devices. They are the purview of poets, lyricists, novelists, journalists … and you.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to review your entire high school English curriculum. In my opinion, bloggers need to know only four rhetorical devices to create engaging prose. I’ll give you their names, but you don’t have to remember those if you don’t want to. Just remember how these tools work and you’ll be on your way to better, more interesting blog content.

The top four blogger-friendly rhetorical devices are:

 

Alliteration;

Assonance;

Rhyme (all kinds); and

Meter.

 

Why Use Rhetorical Devices?

Rhetorical devices work because the human brain likes patterns. Each of the devices above involves creating a pattern of sounds by using words that are similar in some way.

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