Difference Between Alliteration and Consonance (with Table)

Alliteration and Consonance are two literary devices. They are used for emphasizing some phrases and words in a workpiece.

Both of these make use of the repetition of consonant sounds in words that are in close proximity. They are also used by authors to make their writing more interesting and engaging.

Although the two are almost similar since they deal with the repetition of consonants, they are different in their meaning, position in a sentence, and application.

Alliteration vs Consonance

The difference between Alliteration and Consonance is that alliteration is a special case of consonance where the repetition occurs at the stressed part of the word. But, in consonance, the repetition of consonant words is adjacent.

Alliteration is a consonant sound in two or more neighboring words or syllables that are repeated. Usually, the repeated sounds are the first, or initial, sounds—as in “seven sisters.”

Consonance is a literary device in which the same consonant sound repeats more than once within a group of words. Where the consonant sound is specifically a non-vowel sound. An example of consonance is: “Norm, the worm, took the garden by a storm this morn.”

Comparison Table Between Alliteration and Consonance

Parameter of ComparisonAlliterationConsonance
DefinitionA special case of consonance where the repetition occurs at the stressed part of the word is called Alliteration.The repetition of consonant words in adjacent or closely connected words is called Consonance.
ConnectionIt is a special case of the consonant.It is the main category under which alliteration falls.
Consonant soundConsonant sound appears at the stressed part of the word.Consonant sound appears anywhere in the word.
SoundSounds in alliteration may be vowel sound or consonant sound.Sound in consonance is only consonant sound.
ExampleThe fair breeze blew, the white foam flew, The furrow followed free, we were the first that ever burst into the silent sea. The witch’s wishes made the woman worried.All’s well that ends well.
All mammals named Sam are clammy.

What is Alliteration?

Alliteration can be defined as the commencement of two or more stressed syllables of a word group either with the same consonant sound or with a vowel sound that may differ from syllable to syllable,

Alliteration is mostly used in poetry as the repetition of the sound helps draw attention and create a more aural rhythm. Alliteration is derived from the Latin word “Latira” which means “letters of the alphabet”.

It is a commonly used device in literature because it creates musical effects and renders flow and beauty to a piece of writing. Alliteration is also sometimes in tongue twisters.

Example:

  1. A big black bug bit a big black dog and the big black dog bled blood.
  2. The good landlord offered food to the entire neighborhood.
  3. Yves yelled at his sister Ysabel while yanking the yoga mat.

What is Consonance?

Consonance can be defined as a systematic literary device that applies the repetition of similar or identical consonants at the end of a couple or more words in a sentence. However, the vowels of the word are different.

It is a figure of speech commonly used in both poetry and prose. It is a combination of notes which are in harmony with each other due to the relationship between their frequencies and the recurrence of similar-sounding consonants in close proximity, especially in prosody.

Example:

  1. All’s well that ends well.
  2. A blessing in disguise. Tiffany’s offensive remarks disturbed Jeffrey and the other staff members.

Main Differences Between Alliteration and Consonance

  1. Alliteration is a literary device where consonant sounds are repeated at a stressed part of the word, usually at the beginning. On the other hand, consonance is similar to alliteration in that it employs the repetition of the consonant. In consonance, however, the repetition happens at the end of closely connected, the following words in a sentence.
  2. The consonant sound in alliteration appears at the beginning of the word or the stressed part of it. Whereas, the consonant sound in consonance is repeated with emphasis on the end of the stressed word.
  3. Consonance is the main category in which alliteration falls under, while alliteration is a part of consonance.
  4. Alliteration is the repetition of stressed syllables of word-groups either with the same consonant sound or with a vowel sound. Consonance, on the other hand, is the repetition of syllables of an only consonant sound.
  5. Example of Alliteration:
  1. “The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew, The furrow followed free; We were the first that ever burst Into that silent sea.”– Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
  2. A good man is gruff, grumpy, and cranky.
  3. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

            Example of Consonance:

  1. “And this maiden she lived with no other thought Than to love and be loved by me.” -“Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allen Poe
  2. He said he would come home hot and on foot.
  3. Rap rejects my tape deck, ejects projectiles Whether Jew or gentile, I rank top percentile Many styles, more powerful than gamma rays My grammar pays as Carlos Santana plays.

Conclusion

Alliteration and consonance are literary devices related to one another. They are used to denote the idea of repetition. Also, they are a kind of figure of speech helpful in luring readers over a piece of writing.

Both alliteration and consonance are applied in the world of literature, poetry, and prose to add rhythm, to pieces of works, engage a reader’s auditory skill, and make the writing interesting. The repetition of consonants is involved in both alliteration and consonance.

But the major striking difference is one focused on the repetition of initial consonants while the other focuses on the repetition of mostly the last ones. The two are no doubt dissimilar.

References

  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40916957
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1057/9780230305878_15
  3. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdfplus/10.1086/366084
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