The key difference between alliteration and repetition is that alliteration is the repetition of the initial consonant sound of two or more nearby words, while repetition is the usage of a word or phrase two or more times in a speech or written work.
Alliteration and repetition are two literary devices. Alliterations are used as tongue twisters and to develop the speech clarity of individuals. Repetition is used to bring clarity and emphasis to an idea and make it significant.
What is Alliteration?
Alliteration is the repetition of the initial consonant sound in two or more nearby words. It’s important to note that alliteration does not refer to the repetition of the initial consonant letters – it only involves the repetition of the initial consonant sound. For example, the words ‘kids’ and ‘coats’ have the same consonant sound though the initial consonant letters are different.
Alliterations are frequently used as tongue twisters. They are often used by public speakers, politicians, and actors for speech clarity and as verbal exercises. Educators also use these to increase the children’s interest in language learning and for the improvement of their pronunciation.
Alliterative Tongue Twisters
- How many cookies could a good cook cook if a good cook could cook cookies? A good cook could cook as much cookies as a good cook who could cook cookies.
- There was a fisherman named Fisher, Who fished for some fish in a fissure.
Till a fish with a grin, Pulled the fisherman in. Now they’re fishing the fissure for Fisher.
Alliterations are used in everyday speech, as well as in entertainment, advertising, and marketing fields.
Examples of Alliteration
- Picture perfect
- Big business
- No nonsense
- Jumping jacks
- Rocky road
Advertising and marketing:
- Coca Cola
- Canon Camera
Alliteration in Literary Work
“From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife”
(Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare)
What is Repetition?
Repetition is the purposeful usage of a word or a phrase two or more times in speech or written work. This brings clarity and emphasis to the idea that is elaborated. Usually, these words are located close to each other. Repetition is used in everyday conversations as well. For example,
- Over and over
- Boys will be boys
- Heart to heart
- Rain, rain go away
- All for one and one for all
- It is what it is
Repetition is used not only in daily conversations but also in movies and literature as well.
Example of Repetition in Movies
- “Wax on. Wax off.” (The Karate Kid)
- “Stupid is as stupid does.” (Forrest Gump)
Examples of Repetition in Literature
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.”
(Macbeth by William Shakespeare)
“My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.
Some day I’ll join him right there,
but now he’s gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I’ll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.”
(A Dog Has Died by Pablo Neruda; translated by Alfred Yankauer)
What is the Difference Between Alliteration and Repetition?
Alliteration is the repetition of the initial consonant sound of neighboring words. But repetition is the usage of a word two or more times when speaking or writing. So, this is the key difference between alliteration and repetition. Therefore, alliteration involves the repetition of consonant sounds, while repetition involves the repetition of words, not sounds.
The following table summarizes the differences between alliteration and repetition.
Summary – Alliteration vs Repetition
Both these are literary devices frequently used by many writers. Alliteration is the repetition of the same consonant sound in nearby words while repetition is the usage of a word or phrase two or more times in writing or speaking. Thus, this is the key difference between alliteration and repetition. Alliteration is used by writers to add rhyming effect to their works as it is pleasing to the ear and catches the attention while repetition is for emphasis and it stresses the message that is being conveyed.
1. “Alliteration – Examples and Definition of Alliteration.” Literary Devices.
2. “Repetition.” Literary Devices.