All terms

What is assonance?

A literary technique used to create repetition of vowel sounds within words and in close proximity to each other.

Soothing with Similar Sounds: The Magic of Assonance

Assonance is one of the most effective tools to create a musical effect in the English language, and is a useful technique in any writer's arsenal. By cleverly repeating the same vowel sounds in a sentence, a writer can create a soothing rhythm that would make even a curator of songbirds proud.

Literally meaning 'to sound the same,' assonance is employed both in poetry and prose, often to emphasize key moments in the text. It can help convey the tone of a scene or character, from the mournful 'o' sounds echoing in the word 'alone' to the dreamy 'oo' sounds scattered across the phrase 'cooing doves.'

Assonance is often paired with other sound-related tools, such as consonance and alliteration. A skilled writer knows how to combine these tools to create intricate sound patterns that elevate the text from a mere collection of words into a symphony of language.

So the next time you're writing, consider the power of assonance, and let those sweet, similar sounds soothe your readers' earbuds.

The Musicality of Language: Examples of Assonance in Literature
Check out these examples of how writers have used assonance to create beautiful music with their words.
John Keats, 'Ode to a Nightingale'

In this famous poem, Keats uses assonance to create a mournful, contemplative tone to match his speaker's emotions. Note the repetition of the long 'o' sound in the second line: '

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time

I have been half in love with easeful Death.'

Edgar Allan Poe, 'Annabel Lee'

Poe was a master of creating musical effects with his language, and assonance's sing-song quality was perfect for his Gothic sensibilities. Take a look at how he uses assonance (and a little alliteration) to create a haunting, rhythmic effect in this line from 'Annabel Lee':

'But our love it was stronger by far than the love Of those who were older than we--'