GCSE English Poetic Terms

Here are some poetic techniques that might be useful to include and look out for in your english exams.  :) 

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Alliteration

The repetition of a sequence of consonant sounds, usually at the beginnings of words or an accented syllables. 

Example:-

The fair breeze blew,

The white foam flew,

The furrow followed free

Alliteration provides emphasis, and  sometimes aids in memory because it is catchy and perhaps humorous.

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Assonance

The repetition of similar vowel sounds

Example: - 

"Do you like blue?", the /uː/ ("o"/"ou"/"ue" sound) is repeated within the sentence and is assonant.

This technique creates internal rhyming within phrases or sentences.

 

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Blank Verse

A verse with a set rhythm (iambic pentameter) but no set rhyme scheme. 

An example of Blank Verse can be found in the poetic work of John Berryman.

What is the boy now, who has lost his ball,
What, what is he to do? I saw it go
Merrily bouncing, down the street, and then
Merrily over-there it is in the water!

This technique allows for more freedom for a poet and a more speech-like sound.

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Caesura

Refers to a natural pause or break in a line of poetry, usually indicated by a punctuation mark, but not always. A caesura is usually indicated by the symbol //.

Example:- 

To die,// to sleep: 

perchance to dream... 

This technique is used to emphasize or highlight a point. The caesura can also be used for rhetorical effect.

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Consonance

Is the repetition of a sequence of consonance sounds in words whose main v vowels differ.

Example: - 

Presses/past;   ghost/aghast;   pitter/patter.

This technique creates a mood and this can lead you the find what the poet was thinking and why the poem was written.

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End Rhymes

They occur at the end of a verse line. 

Example:- ( Notice the AAA pattern rhyming scheme).

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;    A 

Close to the sun in lonely lands,               A

Ringed with the azure world, he stands     A

This technique in poetry gives a poem a repetitive quality by sound without repeating a line or phrase in a poem. The use of rhyme allows poetry to gain a song-like quality as well.

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Enjambment

When the line of poetry runs on to the new line. 

Example:- 

I think that I shall never see 
A poem lovely as a tree. 

This technique continues the movement of the poem. Whereas, if there is a period or a comma at the end of the line, then there is a hard pause. A tension is also created between syntax and rhythm, which creates movement and excitement.

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Half Rhyme

Is an imperfect rhyme in which different vowels may be followed by identical consonants to give a semblance of rhyme.

Example: - 

blade/blood, flash/flesh

Half rhyme is often used in poems with a rhyme scheme. This technique can prevent a rhyme scheme from sounding too forced.

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Internal Rhymes

Is rhyming within a line.

Example:- 

I awoke to black flak

This technique creates tension and helps readers see the connection between rhyming words.

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Metaphor

Is the comparison of two unlike things using the verb "to be" and not using "like" or "as" as in a simile.

Example: - 

Her eyes are diamonds

This technique aims to create imagery so that we may visualize the connection between two objects or things when they are not. Metaphors are just the use of direct comparison.

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Metre or Meter

Is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse. the metrical unit is the foot. 


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Onomatopoeia

Are words which imitates a sound like the noise they describe. 

Example:- 

Swish, cuckoo, smack, boom

Depending on the context in which it is used, it could create a sense of emotion.

In this case it's fear. E.g. "The snake hissed its way up the man's leg and began to tangle itself around him."

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Personification

This is a type of metaphor in which an abstract or inanimate object/thing is given human qualities

Example:- 

A wave bursts in anger on a rock.

or..

The ocean danced in the moonlight.

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Rhythm

This is the pace or tempo at which a passage moves. Rhythm reflects underlying emotion or meaning of a passage. It is created by the emphasis or stress placed on syllables, or words or phrases.


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Sibilance

Is the sss sound produced through the pronunciation of the sibilants: s (as in hiss and his) c( as in certain), z( as in buzz) and the blend sh ( as in whoosh).

Example:- 

"And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain."

A sibilance creates emphasis on certain important words and verses. If the poem is being read aloud, it makes the poem flow more smoothly, and help with the rhythm

Sibilance also creates a 's' hissing sound. this sound is quite a harsh sound, so it creates a harsh atmosphere

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Simile

A comparison of two unlike things with one thing in common using "like" or "as".

Example:- 

Her eyes are like diamonds

or...

His skin was as cold as ice.

This technique paints a picture in our minds as a simile is a descriptive set of words.

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Comments

Ele.

This is good, But metaphor is never using like... that is similie, metaphor is when something is described as being "as" something else only :)

Ele

Jessica Eden

Thanks!

I did this quite late at night so made a few mistakes. I've changed it now though.

:) 

Deslie Thomas

Thank you for this it helped a lot :)

rebecca

Thank you this really helped to relax me a lot about my English exam. :)

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