Alliteration Explained for Screenwriters (2023)

What is alliteration? You may conclude comprehension because alliteration is everywhere. Always ask anyway! Question and be curious! Because alliteration words sometimes share special, specific significance not explicitly evident. Wise writers accept that meaning might manifest in a multifaceted manner, as we shall see shortly!

Applying Alliteration

What is the Meaning of Alliteration?

In discerning differences, we will review alliteration definitions and examples, including examples in pop songs, marketing, literature and comic books. We will also discover how common alliteration words are in cinema -- especially in movie titles and character names, but also within character dialogue. Using Studiobinder’s Script Breakdown program, we will do a scene study from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to show alliteration meaning at work.


What is Alliteration?

Alliteration is a literary technique derived from Latin, meaning “letters of the alphabet.” It occurs when two or more words are linked that share the same first consonant sound, such as “fish fry.” Some famous examples of alliteration sentences include:

  • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
  • Sally sells seashells by the sea shore.
  • How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
  • “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation,” Martin Luther King.

The sound, not the letter, is the most important element of alliteration meaning, as not all adjacent words sharing first consonants amount to alliteration. ‘Kitty cat’ and ‘fish phobia’ are considered alliteration examples, but not “thirty typists,” because ‘th’ and ‘ty’ don’t sound the same.

Other Common Alliteration Words:

  • Cream of the crop
  • French fry
  • Hit the hay
  • Pecan pie
  • Super-Size
  • Tough talk
  • Trick or treat

Discerning Differences

Alliteration Vs. Assonance

Some alliteration definitions include words that begin with vowels or vowel sounds, while others hold that alliterative words can only begin with consonants. In these definitions, adjacent words beginning with vowel sounds are sometimes considered ‘assonance.’

Alliteration meaning: Designating distinctions

The narrator describes the difference between alliteration and assonance in the video and gives examples of each. Other examples include:

  • Accidental acceptance
  • Eagle eye
  • Imaginative improvisation
  • Open ocean
  • Umpire union

What is Alliteration in familiar phrases?

Using Alliteration

Because alliteration is catchy and easy to remember, it is often used in songs, business and advertising. Some alliteration examples in song lyrics include:

  • “My mind makes marvelous moves, masses / Marvel and move, many mock what I've mastered,” Blackalicious -- Alphabet Aerobics
  • “Little old lady got mutilated late last night.” -- Warren Zevon - Werewolves of London
  • “Whisper words of wisdom …” -- The Beatles - Let It Be
  • “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” -- Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

Check out more alliteration examples in this video.

(Video) The pleasure of poetic pattern - David Silverstein

Alliteration examples: Hip hop hooks

Business and marketing make frequent use of alliteration words for the same reason as pop music: a catchy, rhythmic phrase or title is easy to remember, especially if set to music. Alliterative sounds set to music easily get stuck in people’s heads, which is exactly what both pop music and advertising and marketing are trying to achieve. Here are some famous brands with alliterative names.

Alliteration Explained for Screenwriters (1)

Alliteration words: Business Brands

These are just a few of many famous brands that alliterate. Others include:

  • American Apparel
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • Kit Kat
  • Lululemon
  • Muscle Milk
  • Planter’s Peanuts
  • Tater-Tots

Formal functions of Alliteration Words

What is Alliteration in Literature?

Let’s define alliteration in literature. Writers have used alliteration for centuries across literary forms and genres, from poetry and drama, to novels and children’s books. Depending on the author’s intent, alliteration may function to emphasize a certain section of text; create an aesthetic linguistic effect; evoke musical and rhythmic sounds; or make a poem or speech easier to remember and recite.

Alliteration examples in poetry include:

  • “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes . . .” Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
  • “Burning bright,” and “frame thy fearful symmetry,” William Blake, Tyger
  • “The fair breeze blow, the white foam flew / The furrow followed free,” Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
    Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, —
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,” Edgar Allen Poe,
    The Raven

As explained above, the sound, not the letter, is the most important element of alliteration, as not all adjacent words sharing first consonants amount to alliteration. The line from The Raven featuring “quaint and curious” is this type of alliteration example.



A literary classic famous for its use of alliteration is the long poem Beowulf, written in Old English between the 8th and 11th centuries.

Works like Beowulf were meant to be read aloud, using alliteration to help readers remember the story. Lines from the poem include:

  • “To feast his fill of the flesh of men.”
  • “Gulped the blood, and gobbled the flesh.”
  • “He found them sprawled in sleep, suspecting nothing, their dreams undisturbed / Up from his swampland, sliding silently. Toward that gold-shining hall.”

We can also define alliteration in literature using character names:

  • Humbert Humbert: Lolita
  • Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey: The Hobbit
  • Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov: Crime and Punishment
  • Peter Pevensie: The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Sansa Stark, Lancel Lannister, Podrick Payne: A Song of Ice and Fire
(Video) How I Wrote Arrival

Alliteration Explained for Screenwriters (2)

Snazzy Sansa

Alliteration is particularly prevalent in children’s literature because it makes language fun and easy to listen to. Studies also show that alliteration words enhance children’s ability to remember material and to later repeat it.

Examples include works by Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein.

  • “David Donald Doo dreamed a dozen doughnuts and a duck-dog, too,” Dr. Seuss
  • “Many mumbling mice are making midnight music in the moonlight,” Dr. Seuss
  • “We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow / and watch where the chalk-white arrows go,” Shel Silverstein
  • I saw an ol' gnome/ Take a gknock at a gnat / Who was gnibbling the gnose of his gnu.”

As you can see, Silverstein even created nonsense words just so that he could alitterate!

JK Rowling frequently uses alliteration in her Harry Potter novels, because the books are for and about children. She also uses it to express the essence of her whimsical world of witches and wizards

Alliteration Explained for Screenwriters (3)

Notable nomenclature •Harry Potter

Many of the Harry Potter characters in the chart have alliterative names, and not all of these start their first and last name with the same letter. Some have names featuring alliterative sounds, such as AlBUS DUMbledoere (the UH sound of each U) and BelLAtrix LEstrange, with the LA/LE sounds alliterating. CeDErick DIggory repeats prominent D sounds.

Alliteration Meaning

What does Alliteration Mean in Comics?

Like Harry Potter and other works for children, comic books are also famous for alliterative character names. Some prominent alliteration examples in comic books include:

  • Billy Batson / Captain Marvel
  • Bruce Banner / The Incredible Hulk
  • Cassandra Cain / Batgirl
  • Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, Lana Lang / Superman
  • Jessica Jones / Jessica Jones
  • Matt Murdock / Daredevil
  • Peter Parker, The Green Goblin, J. Jonah Jameson / Spider-Man
  • Scott Summers / The X-Men
  • Stephen Strange / Doctor Strange
  • Susan Storm, Reed Richards / Fantastic Four
  • Wally West / The Flash
  • Wade Winston Wilson / Deadpool

In this video, the narrator explains why alliterative character names are so prevalent in Marvel comics in particular.

What's an alliteration

As the narrator describes, alliteration has a particularly pleasant effect on our brains, which like to recognize patterns. This leads to the positive associations comic book authors want readers to have with their work. After all, positive associations often lead to profitable projects!

Other literary devices that work on our brain to create rhythm and meaning include symbolism and onomatopoeia.

(Video) "What is Ekphrasis?": A Literary Guide for English Students and Teachers

Related Posts

  • What is Symbolism? →
  • Tips for Writing Better Dialogue →
  • Literary Devices for Screenwriters →

What is alliteration in movies?

Alliterate to Attract Audiences

Thousands of novel and film titles are alliterative. Like company and brand names, short catchy titles are memorable and easy to market -- even to global audiences who may not speak much English, or who can more easily recognize words phonetically.

The best of them can also be very economical in conveying the essence of a movie. Here are some of the alliteration examples of movie titles just for one letter -- M. For hundreds more from A-Z, visit this site.

Alliteration Explained for Screenwriters (4)

Alliteration example: Teeming with titles

What does alliteration mean to screenwriters? Properly used, it can prove pragmatic and profitable. Want to both signal a Batman origin story, as well as set it apart from earlier installments? You could barely do better than Batman Begins.

Need to indicate who is at the center of a film, as well as give an idea of his effect on audiences? How about Magic Mike?

What Women Want -- here’s a movie with answers, the title slyly suggests.

And while Unusual Day Before the Weekend delivers the data, it certainly can’t compete with the juicy jolt of Freaky Friday.

Alliteration Explained for Screenwriters (5)

What is alliteration in film?

Screenwriters can also apply alliteration to movie character names and quotes. Some famous alliterative movie character names include:

  • Benjamin Button
  • Bobby Boucher
  • Buckaroo Banzai
  • Donnie Darko
  • King Kong
  • Marty McFly
  • Roger Rabbit
  • Steve Stifler
  • Tracy Turnblad
  • Vincent Vega
  • Willy Wonka

Characters may also express themselves alliteratively as a way to convey personality traits such as eccentricity or precision.

In this clip from V for Vendetta (2005), the masked freedom fighter V uses alliteration. Sentences convey that he is both a learned man and a showman who makes grand gestures as a way to draw attention to his cause.

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What does alliteration sound like?

Whats an alliteration?

Scene Study

As discussed above, JK Rowling uses alliteration extensively throughout her Harry Potter universe, for character names and places, as well as dialogue. Here is an example from the movie version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, written by Steve Kloves:

Alliteration Words: Professorial palaver

What does alliteration mean to Minerva? As with V in V for Vendetta, McGonagall’s alliterative dialogue expresses the nature of her character - an erudite educator and whimsical wizard. Also, as someone who engages with children often, she is intermittently inclined to intone nursery rhymes.

Here you can see how alliteration is woven into the written script of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. As in the filmed scene, there is alliteration in the dialogue. But the writer even includes alliteration in the description of the action (“wolf whistle”) to help enhance the flavor on the page.

Alliteration Explained for Screenwriters (6)

Kloves adapts the essence of the character and the alliterative dialogue from the novel. The zippy and playful dialogue helps the actors understand the tone of the scene and how to perform it.


What is a Metaphor?

Alliteration is one of many figurative language devices screenwriters should be in command of, along with metaphor, allusion, similes, onomatopoeia, and personification, among others. Now that we have explained alliteration with examples, let’s look at some metaphors and explore how they are used in storytelling.

Up Next: What is a Metaphor? →


Why would writers use alliteration? ›

Using alliteration in the text and a repeated rhythm would be very striking and more memorable for the reader. So alliteration can be used to inject mood or emotion into a piece of writing. It can also be used to add rhythm and emphasis, which helps to make the context more memorable.

How do you interpret alliteration? ›

Alliteration is the repetition of the same sound at the start of a series of words in succession whose purpose is to provide an audible pulse that gives a piece of writing a lulling, lyrical, and/or emotive effect. This paragraph is an example of alliteration.

What is a alliteration in a movie? ›

Alliteration is a literary device that names the situation where two or more words linked share the same first consonant sound. It was derived from Latin and meant “letters of the alphabet.”

How does alliteration create mood? ›

Create Mood or Tone

The sound of alliteration can help create the mood or tone of a poem or piece of prose. For example, repetition of the “s” sound often suggests a snake-like quality, implying slyness and danger. Softer sounds like “h” or “l” may create a more introspective or romantic mood or tone.

What is the impact of the alliteration on the lines? ›

The use of alliteration creates a lyrical or bouncy quality that can make the text seem bright and cheerful, depending on the content and the other devices used. For this reason, alliteration is often used for comedic effect, especially in children's works.

What are the 3 types of alliteration? ›

4 Types of Alliteration in Literature
  • General Alliteration. This is one of the simplest forms of alliteration and refers to the repetition of the initial sounds of the series of words. ...
  • Consonance. This refers to the repeated consonant sound in the start, middle and, end of the sentence. ...
  • Assonance. ...
  • Unvoiced Alliterations.

What is alliteration simple words? ›

Another term for alliteration is “initial rhyme,” because it's literally the reverse of a rhyme—instead of repeating a sound at the end of two or more words, alliteration is repeating a sound at the beginning of two or more words. Alliteration is about repetition of sound, not simply of letters written on the page.

Can alliteration be 2 words? ›

To create alliteration, you need two or more words that start with the same consonant sound. It's important to focus on the sound rather than the letter because it is the sound that catches the audience's attention.

What is a good example of alliteration? ›


Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Sally sells seashells by the sea shore. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

How do you describe alliteration in a poem? ›

Poetic Devices: Alliteration - Examples & Meaning - YouTube

Is alliteration based on sound or letter? ›

Alliteration is the repetition of sounds, not just letters. Alliterative words don't have to be right next to each other.

What is an example of an alliteration poem? ›

"Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked; If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?"

What is an allusion in film? ›

An allusion is an implied or indirect reference to something, used either in general discussion, or within a text — a novel, play, movie, song, TV show, video game, or even a T-shirt. For example, a T-shirt emblazoned with, “Did I do that?” is alluding to a famous quote from the popular '90s sitcom, Family Matters.

What is an alliterative title? ›

Or put simply: An Alliterative Title is one in which all the words (aside from articles, conjunctions, and prepositions) begin with the same phonetic sound. This can be done for varying reasons or effects, but more often than not, it's a catchy, easy way to remember the name of a work.

How is alliteration persuasive? ›

Alliteration is when a writer uses a series of words that begin with the same letter or sound. In persuasive writing, alliteration is often used to emphasise a particular phrase or idea. Because it's memorable, you will frequently find alliteration in brand names and advertising copy.

Where does alliteration most usually take place? ›

The repeated sound in alliteration usually occurs with the first letter of two neighboring words. It can occur in the middle of the words as well, such as with “Wetzel's Pretzels.” Alliteration is intended to capture the attention of the reader or listener.

What are the different types of alliteration? ›

Types of Alliteration
  • Sibilance. Among the easiest to hear and recognize of the types is sibilance. ...
  • Consonance. ...
  • Assonance. ...
  • Fricative Alliteration. ...
  • Plosive Alliteration. ...
  • Dental Alliteration. ...
  • Vocalic Alliteration. ...
  • General Alliteration.
14 Dec 2021

How do you write alliterative verses? ›

The core metrical features of traditional Germanic alliterative verse are as follows:
  1. A long-line is divided into two half-lines. ...
  2. A heavy pause, or cæsura, separates the verses.
  3. Each verse usually has two strongly stressed syllables, or "lifts".

Is alliteration a poetic device? ›

alliteration, in prosody, the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words or stressed syllables. Sometimes the repetition of initial vowel sounds (head rhyme) is also referred to as alliteration. As a poetic device, it is often discussed with assonance and consonance.

How do I make an alliteration? ›

Alliteration is the repetition of the same sound or letter at the beginning of each or most of the words in a sentence. The easiest way to use alliteration would be to repeat the starting letter of the words.

What are the 4 types of figure of speech with examples? ›

In this lesson we look at four common types of figure of speech:
  • Simile. A figure of speech that says that one thing is like another different thing.
  • Metaphor. A figure of speech that says that one thing is another different thing.
  • Hyperbole. ...
  • Oxymoron.

Does alliteration have to be the same letter? ›

How to Identify Alliteration. The best way to spot alliteration in a sentence is to sound out the sentence, looking for the words with identical beginning consonant sounds. Alliterative words don't have to start with the same letter, just the same initial sound.

What is alliterative phrase? ›

: the repetition of usually initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words or syllables (such as wild and woolly, threatening throngs) — called also head rhyme, initial rhyme.

Which is not an example of alliteration? ›

Answer: Favour fire is not an example of alliteration...

Is repetition an alliteration? ›

Alliteration: repetition of initial or medial consonants in two or more adjacent words. Repeated consonant sounds at the beginning of words is called initial alliteration. Repeated consonant sounds in the middle or at the ends of words is called internal alliteration.

Is Coca Cola an alliteration? ›

Coca-Cola employs all four patterns. The repetition of the hard “C” sound at the beginning of both words creates an alliteration. The “oh” and the “ah” sounds in both words create both assonance and rhyme. That first word alone, “Coca,” creates a sense of consonance – combining that hard “C” sound with a vowel change.

How does alliteration make the words stand out? ›

Alliteration is commonly used to add interest to a sentence and can be a great way to help you remember names and phrases. The sounds created by alliteration establish a certain mood, emotion and rhythm in text.

What is not alliteration? ›

Alliteration is the repetition of beginning consonant sounds, such as "winds whispered in the willows." Consonance, in contrast, is the repetition of consonant sounds in the middle or at the ends of words placed closely together, such as "wild buildings." Assonance refers to the repetition of beginning vowel sounds, ...

What are some 2 word alliterations? ›

It can also be two or more words that start with the same sound. For example, “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,” “She sells seashells by the sea-shore,” and “Jerry Jordan's jelly jar and jam” are alliterations. They are tongue twisters, too.

Can C and K be alliteration? ›

To put it more simply: alliteration is when the beginning sounds of words repeat. It is important to note that alliteration is about the sounds of words, not the letters; therefore, the letter “k” and “c” can be used alliteratively (as in kitchen and cookie), as well as the letter “s” and “c” (as in sparkle and cycle).

How do you write an alliteration in a story? ›

How to Write an Alliteration
  1. Think of the subject you want to emphasize.
  2. Think of words that relate to the subject and begin with the same sound.
  3. Place those words closely together in a sentence.

What are alliteration vowels called? ›

Alliteration is usually described as the repetition of the same consonants, and assonance as the repetition of the same vowels.

What is alliteration and it Examples? ›

Alliteration is the conspicuous repetition of initial consonant sounds of nearby words in a phrase, often used as a literary device. A familiar example is "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers".

What is an example of alliteration in Romeo and Juliet? ›

Mercutio believes Romeo has been shot with Cupid's arrow. He says, 'The very pin of his heart cleft with the bow-boy's butt shaft. ' The 'b' sound repeated in these lines is an example of alliteration.

Why do writers use allusions? ›

Writers use allusions as stylistic devices to help contextualize a story by referencing a well-known person, place, event, or another literary work. They do not have to explicitly explain these references; more often than not, writers choose to let readers fill in the blanks.

What are examples of allusions in movies? ›

Examples of Allusions Based on Film
  • It was like she had received a golden ticket. (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
  • I wish I could just click my heels. (The Wizard of Oz)
  • She smiles like a Cheshire Cat. (Alice in Wonderland)
  • My math teacher is he who must not be named. ...
  • I have a caped crusader costume.

Is allusion a film technique? ›

When telling a story, there are a variety of different literary techniques to potentially use in order to imply or otherwise reference a particular meaning. Allusions in films are one of several ways that literary devices which were quite common in literature and novels have come forth in filmmaking.

How do you use alliteration in a title? ›

How to use Alliteration in your writing! - YouTube

Why do authors use figurative language? ›

Figurative language compares things in order to give them more detail. We use figurative language to help the reader better understand what we are trying to describe.

What is the effect of repetition? ›

the fact that repeated presentation of information or items typically leads to better memory for the material. The repetition effect is a general principle of learning, although there are exceptions and modifiers. For instance, spaced repetitions are usually more effective than massed repetitions.

Why would an author use repetition? ›

Writers and speakers also use repetition to give words rhythm. As with other devices such as rhyme, consonance, and assonance, repetition adds musicality to a piece of text and makes it more pleasing to listen to.

Why do authors use allusion? ›

Writers use allusions as stylistic devices to help contextualize a story by referencing a well-known person, place, event, or another literary work. They do not have to explicitly explain these references; more often than not, writers choose to let readers fill in the blanks.

How do figurative terms improve the writer's literary piece? ›

Figurative language makes the story more enjoyable to read while also allowing the reader to have a better understanding of what the author is trying to convey. It does this by injecting emphasis, comparisons, and humor into your writing. It can even play a role in adding musicality and rhythm to a piece of writing.

Why do writers use metaphors and similes in their writing? ›

Similes use the words 'like' or 'as' to compare. Metaphors differ by saying that something is something else. Both allow an author to emphasize, exaggerate, and add interest. They create a vivid picture in the reader's mind.

How does figures of speech influence a piece of writing? ›

Figures of speech often provide emphasis, freshness of expression, or clarity. However, clarity may also suffer from their use, as any figure of speech introduces an ambiguity between literal and figurative interpretation. A figure of speech is sometimes called a rhetoric or a locution.

What is it called when an author repeats a phrase? ›

Anaphora—repeat a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or sentences.

Why should we avoid repetition in writing? ›

Too much repetition can affect the way readers understand your message. In turn, it can negatively impact their reaction to your writing. Perhaps it is a trap to repeat words because of focusing on using keywords for SEO rankings in blog writing.

What is it called when you repeat a phrase over and over? ›

This repetition or imitation of sounds, phrases, or words is called echolalia. The term comes from the Greek words “echo” and “lalia,” which mean “to repeat speech”.

What effect does the use of repetition have on the audience? ›

Importance of Repetition. Repetition is an important literary device because it allows a writer or speaker to place emphasis on things they choose as significant. It tells the reader or audience that the words being used are central enough to be repeated, and lets them know when to pay special attention to the language ...

What is it called when you repeat the same word in a sentence? ›

In rhetoric, epizeuxis is the repetition of a word or phrase in immediate succession, typically within the same sentence, for vehemence or emphasis. A closely related rhetorical device is diacope, which involves word repetition that is broken up by a single intervening word, or a small number of intervening words.

What is a good sentence for repetition? ›

The repetition of the process brought the same results. Constant repetition makes it easier to learn how to spell a word. The small town with its repetition of nice homes made it a good place to live. The unusual language and repetition made the story seem unreal.

How does allusion enhance writing? ›

An allusion can be used as a straightforward device to enhance a text by providing further meaning, but it can also be used in a more complex sense to make an ironic comment on one thing by comparing it to something that is dissimilar.

What are 3 reasons why an allusion would be used? ›

The Useful Allusion: 6 Reasons to Use Literary Allusions in Your Writing
  • The feeling of “getting it.” When readers understand a reference you've made, they feel a pang of pride. ...
  • Extra meaning or imagery for a scene. ...
  • Seamless recommendations. ...
  • Added validity to claims. ...
  • Pays tribute. ...
  • Self-promotion.


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