An Introduction to Assonance
Assonance is the repetition or resemblance of vowel sounds, preceded and followed by different consonants, in the stressed syllables of adjacent words; such as:
- “late and make”,
- “fish and chips”
- “a deep green stream”.
Assonance also refers to the likeness of sound in a series of words, as in “fair and square”. Since it is a partial or half-rhyme, assonance is often used in poetic language to create a musical rhythm for a particular effect of euphonyOpens in new window.
Assonance is a figure used mainly in poetry. Observe the example below.
- The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,— Thomas Gray, Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard
The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
The above lines are the first stanza of the poem, in which the vowel sound [əu] is repeated in toll, lowing, slowly, o’er, and homeward; [ə:] is repeated three times in curfew, herd, and world; [i:] is repeated in lea, leaves, and me; [ei] and [a:] are repeated respectively in day, way and parting, and darkness. The musical rhythm and sound euphony resulting from the repetition of the above vowel sounds help to create the atmosphere in which the poet meditated upon the people who were buried there.
Assonance are also used in prose, speeches, news publications, as well as in proverbs; here are few examples below: