English has a rich tradition of rhyme, with countless examples dating back centuries. Rhyme can be used for a variety of purposes, from adding beauty and elegance to a poem to emphasizing a particular point or creating a more memoizable refrain. While there are many different types of rhyme, the most common involve matching the ending sounds of two or more words. This can be done with identical consonants, as in the phrase “time after time,” or with matching vowel sounds, as in the nursery rhyme “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. “Regardless of its form, rhyme can be a powerful tool for adding both interest and meaning to a piece of writing.
Rhyme is often used in poetry to create a specific effect or to make a poem more memorable. In traditional English poetry, for example, rhyme was used extensively to create beautiful, lyrical verses. In more modern poems, rhyme may be used sparingly or not at all, depending on the poet’s goals. In either case, understanding how rhyme works can help you appreciate and create better poetry.
Types of Rhymes
There are three types of rhymes in English.
- Perfect rhyme
- Imperfect rhyme
- End rhyme
A rhyme is a pattern of words that repeat the same sounds. Perfect rhymes also called true rhymes or exact rhymes, are when both words share the exact same sound. Imperfect rhymes, also called slant rhymes or near rhymes, are when the words share similar but not identical sounds. For example, “cat” and “hat” would be a perfect rhyme, while “cat” and “bat” would be imperfect rhyme. Rhyming can be used for artistic effect in poetry and songwriting, or simply to add a touch of playfulness to everyday conversation. When done well, rhyming can add a layer of meaning and beauty to language – making it perfect for anyone who wants to add a little extra pizazz to their communication.
Perfect rhyme also called true rhyme or full rhyme is when the last accented vowel and all following sounds in both words are identical.
These words have the same ending sound (indicated in bold), so they rhyme perfectly.
Imperfect rhyme also called slant rhyme, near rhyme, off rhyme or oblique rhyme is when the last accented vowel sound in both words is different, but the remaining sounds after the vowel are identical.
In these examples, the words have different last vowel sounds (indicated in bold), but the consonants that follow match, so they are considered imperfectly rhyming.
End rhyme is when the last accented vowel and all following sounds in one word rhyme with the last accented vowel and all following sounds of another word. This type of rhyme is also known as terminal rhyme or tail rhyme.
End rhymes are often used in poems to create a feeling of finality or closure.
The rhyme scheme of a poem is the pattern of rhyming words at the end of each line. In other words, it’s the way the poet has chosen to arrange the rhymes in a poem. For example, if every other line ends in a word that rhymes with “cat,” the rhyme scheme would be ABAB. If the poem ended with a line that rhymed with “bat,” the rhyme scheme would be ABCB.
Rhyme schemes can be very simple, like ABAB, or much more complicated, like ABABCDCDEE. The important thing to remember is that the poet has deliberately chosen a certain arrangement of rhyming words to create a specific effect.
Rhyme is just one of many tools that poets can use to create their art. Some other common poetic devices include:
Alliteration: Repeating the same sound at the beginning of multiple words in a phrase or sentence. For example, “She sells seashells by the seashore.”
Assonance: Repeating the same sound in the middle of multiple words in a phrase or sentence. For example, “The light was too bright for my eyes.”
Consonance: Repeating the same sound at the end of multiple words in a phrase or sentence. For example, “I scream, you dream.”
A language’s timing is either syllable-timed or stressed-timed. The syllables in a syllable-timed language are all the same length, and the number of syllables determines how long it takes to say anything. In a stressed-timed language, like English, the timing is based on stressing certain syllables while de-emphasizing others. This gives English its characteristic “sing-song” rhythm.
The meter of a poem is the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in each line. In other words, it’s the way the poet has chosen to arrange the stressed and unstressed syllables to create a specific effect.
For example, if every other syllable is stressed, the poem is in iambic meter. If every syllable is stressed, the poem is in trochaic meter. And if the first syllable is stressed and the second syllable is unstressed, the poem is in an anapestic meter.
There are many other types of meters, but these are some of the most common. The important thing to remember is that the poet has deliberately chosen a certain arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables to create a specific effect.