All terms

What is a Refrain?

A repeated line or phrase in poetry or song.

The Chorus of Your Writing: Understanding Refrain

Referring to the repetition of a phrase or full lines of a poem or song, refrain can serve as the backbone of any creative piece.

By using refrain, a writer can create a unifying theme or mood throughout a piece. It can also help to emphasize certain ideas and create a memorable impact on the reader or listener.

Not only used in poetry and songwriting, the technique of refrain can be utilized in various forms of creative writing, including storytelling and even essay writing.

So, whether you're writing a lyrical masterpiece or crafting an essay with a distinct message, the use of refrain can help elevate your writing to new heights.

Refrain in Literature: Two Examples of its Usage

Refrain has been used throughout history as a literary device, adding depth and meaning to poetic works. Here are two examples of how writers have incorporated refrain in their pieces.

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

As the narrator spirals into insanity, the repetition of the word "nevermore" in the raven's replies serves as a haunting refrain that solidifies the dread felt throughout the poem.

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas

Thomas' poem uses a refrain to call out to a father on his deathbed, driving home the message of his piece: that life is worth fighting for. The refrain, "Do not go gentle into that good night," repeats throughout the poem, emphasizing the plea made by the speaker to his father.