The UVic Writer's Guide

 


Assonance and Consonance


Assonance is the sequential repetition of vowel sounds, particularly in stressed syllables, as in the line "Full fathom five thy father lies," in which "fathom" and "father" and "five" and "lies" have paralleled vowel sounds.

Consonance is the repetition of a pattern of consonants within words in which the separating vowels differ, as in the pairs "leaf" and "loaf" or "room" and "roam."

Note that sound, not spelling, is the criterion for consonance, as of alliteration and assonance. It is also true, however, that many critics refer to both assonance and consonance by the more general term "assonance."


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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated April 14, 1995