al·lit·er·a·tion (ə-lĭt'ə-rā'shən)


a structuring device characterized by the reiteration of the initial consonant at the beginning of two consecutive or slightly separated words. It is generally found within poems.Common examples of alliteration include such tongue-twisters

Although the term would not be used in the multiple-choice selection, it helps to find it in the passages because it can help reinforce meaning, unify ideas, and supply musical sound.


do or die
safe and sound
now or never
sweet smell of success

  • Robert Frost's The Death of the Hired Man begins:

Mary sat musing on the lamp-flame at the table

The eye catches on to the "m"s in Mary and musing and the "w"s in waiting and Warren.

  • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled peppers? If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Notice the "P"s as well as the "i" and "e"
helps add tone and a beat

There is another kind of recurrence which is the repetition of a word or phrase
  • Rudyard Kipling's poem

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Chuck him out, the brute!
But it's "Savior of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot.

"works cited"

Oscar Lara
Olivia Schow
Kim Phan
Taylor Schow
Sarah Fassett