Distinguishing Assonance, Alliteration, & Consonance

Assonance vs Alliteration vs Consonance

The distinction among assonance, alliteration, and consonance lies in the utilization of vowels, consonants, and the placement of similar sounding alphabets within words in a poem’s line.

Poets use specific techniques when choosing words in their poems to make them more fluid and appealing to the reader or listener’s ears. These elements of a poem are discussed in terms of alliteration, assonance, and consonance, with the primary goal of making the poem more appealing and engaging to the listener. Students studying poetry often struggle to differentiate between these three elements of poetry. This article aims to identify the differences between assonance, consonance, and alliteration.


This involves selecting words that start with the same letter, resulting in consecutive similar sounds. The classic example of alliteration is found in the tongue twister: “She sells sea shells by the seashore.” Here, the writer cleverly uses the sounds “s” and “sh” multiple times to make the rhyme very appealing to the listener. The key to alliteration is that the similar sounds are produced at the beginning of the words used in succession.


This is a sound effect created by using several words containing the same vowel. Such words are used in succession in poetry to make for interesting reading. Consider the following example: “The black bat sat on the back porch.” In this example, the use of the sound “b” with the first two words “black” and “bat” serves as an example of alliteration. Finally, the sounds “ck” in “black” and “back” create the consonance effect, as these are similar consonant sounds produced at the ends of words in close proximity.


This practice attempts to produce the same effect on the listener as assonance but uses consonants rather than vowels. In consonance, a single repetition of the sound is enough to create the effect.

Key Takeaways

  • Assonance refers to the repetition of vowel sounds in a sentence in a poem where the words do not rhyme.
  • Alliteration involves the repetition of similar sounds at the start of words in a single sentence in a poem.
  • Consonance is similar to alliteration, but the similar sounds are produced not at the start but in the middle or at the end of the words.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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