Alliteration: Does it Arouse or Just Plan Aggravate Your Audience?

MarilynDavisatTIERSStarred Page By MarilynDavisatTIERS, 7th Sep 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Tips

"Alliteration is a device that many writers employ to create a treasure trove of tried-and-true, bread-and-butter, bigger-and-better, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, do-or-die, footloose-and-fancy-free, larger-than-life, cream-of-the-crop titles." Edwin Newman quoted by Jim Fisher in The Writer's Quote Book: 500 Authors on Creativity, Craft, and the Writing Life. Rutgers University Press, 2006

Interesting Idioms Intrigue Our Readers

Alliteration is derived from Latin’s “Latira”. It means “letters of alphabet”. It is a stylistic device in which a number of words, having the same first consonant sound occur close together in a series.

Alliteration: An Opportunity to Attract and Appeal to the Audience

Titles are the first opportunity you have to entice your audience to read further; they create initial interest in your article. Alliteration in your title captures readers with a few well chosen words. Still, titles pose a challenge; some writers have a title in mind and then create an article, and others wait until the article is finished to determine if a title reflect the contents.

Either way, a title is critical to getting readers engaged and interested. Even the best writers can produce a killer end sentence; however, if the title does not capture the reader, the article will not get read. Using alliteration is a quick way to engage your readers, meaning that they actually do make it to the end of your article.

Toby Fulwiler and Alan R. Hayakawa, writing in The Blair Handbook, list the following as ways to hone in on your title.

• Use one strong short phrase from your article
• Present a question that your article answers
• State the answer to the question or issue your article will explore
• Use a clear or catchy image from your article
• Use a famous quotation
• Write a one-word title (or a two-word title, a three-word-title, and so on)
• Begin your title with the word On
• Begin your title with a gerund (-ing word)

Qualify Titles with a Quote

Quotes help validate or support your article. Two excellent sites for finding just the right quote are Brainy Quotes and Goodreads. You can search by person or topic and choose the most appealing quote for your article. Both of these sites give you a choice of humorous, witty, or serious quotes about a given subject.

While many authors and writers use quotes to strengthen their position, we all need to be mindful that the quote is accurate and cited correctly. There are many things someone thought someone should have said, or attributed to the wrong person. Often credited with saying something witty, profound or inspirational are Mother Theresa, Benjamin Franklin, George Carlin, Mark Twain and John Lennon.

Albert Einstein ranks highest for misquotes in several polls. Why? Because he did quote about more topics than science and his inclusion in an article lends credibility. However, if you are going to include Einstein, make sure he said it.

Why Attribute Incorrectly?

We oftentimes think that a particular person should have said something on our subject. Thomas Frank writes in Check it Yourself, "I think the answer is that the myths are so much more satisfying than reality." In a 1989 study of spurious quotes, historians Paul F. Boiler Jr. and John George write that “quote fakers dream up things that never were said but someone thought they ought to have said them.”

Can You Use Another Source?

There is another consideration in using quotes. While a particular quote is exactly the right phrasing to complement an article, there are times that the individual whose quote fits the piece is either little known, out of favor in the public eye or has recently been found guilty of a crime in their respective realm of expertise.

There are many sports heroes, politicians, and celebrities that would fit this category, so using them may prove problematic. Granted, few if any have given up the sport of golf because of Tiger Woods' transgressions, or decided never to vote again after Bill Clinton's behavior, but using their quotes could invalidate your article.

Writing Styles: Individual to Each Writer

Each writer finds their voice, or their particular style of writing emerges with each piece they write. Your perspective may be expository, descriptive, persuasive or narrative writing. Becoming familiar with these four styles will help you develop your writing talents; however, all four types or categories can use alliteration.



For additional articles by Marilyn Davis:

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Tags

Alliteration, Alliteration In Writing, Alliteration In Your Article, Same Letter Beginnings For Words, Writing Devices

Meet the author

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
A Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, with 25 years of abstinence-based recovery. I write about addictions, recovery, life lessons and general writing tips.

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Comments

author avatar Stella Mitchell
8th Sep 2014 (#)

Can't think of anything witty worth writing which will be worthy of Wikinut's wonderful writers ...dear Marilyn .
So I will just say my usual...
God bless you
Stella :) ><

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
8th Sep 2014 (#)

Good morning, Stella; I'm smiling as I read your comment. I'm sure you can think of something worthy to write about. Worthy words come willingly to women who write....that's you. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Mariah
8th Sep 2014 (#)

Great topic to cover Marilyn, titles are likened to the wrapping on a gift, the more alluring the wrapping.. the more intriguing it becomes to discover the content.. ...newspapers adopt the sharp catchy title magnet which successfully reels us in with the quest 'read all about it'
Alleged quotes in newspapers are very often not the genuine article and doubtless the same
will be true of the internet, totally agree with you..do your homework there first.
Very well written and 'attention grabbing' read my friend.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
8th Sep 2014 (#)

Good morning, Mariah; I find alliteration a fun approach to some topics. You are right, if we don't intrigue our readers, they go elsewhere....let's keep them at Wikinut. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
8th Sep 2014 (#)

Wonderful words of wisdom for the wealth of Wikinut.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
8th Sep 2014 (#)

Good morning, Mark; thank you for the moderation and star. I appreciate that you took the challenge and created an alliteration worthy of your writing, wit and Wikinut. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
8th Sep 2014 (#)

Alliteration can give us some witty phrases and can certainly make good titles and give a catchy phrase to cling to. You are also wise to caution about the use of quotes, indeed I have seen some that indicate the originator favoured a certain proposition, yet the opposite is true because the popular quote takes only the first phrase not the whole sentence in context.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
8th Sep 2014 (#)

Good morning, Peter; good points to remember. I think that is why I like Goodreads; I can see the original and make sure that if I link it, the quote is reflective of my article. Course the problem with that is I can get distracted; hopefully, I'll learn something if I read the entire piece.....~Marilyn

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
9th Sep 2014 (#)

Very interesting dissertation and point well taken my dear, I love your wisdom and writing very educational, blessings and nice to be back in the forum, cheers!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
9th Sep 2014 (#)

Good morning, Fern; good to be back. Sometimes we take breaks and then just get extended.....Hope you are doing well and thanks for the kind words and comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar C.D. Moore
9th Sep 2014 (#)

I love alliteration more than end rhymes, but I agree it can be overdone, great article Marilyn!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
10th Sep 2014 (#)

Good morning, C.D. You know I have that poet envy, so alliteration gets me close....thanks for the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
10th Sep 2014 (#)

Willing words wander whether women wish. Never neglect iNdependent nymphs' natural nuance of nouns. Perhaps people ponder rePeated parts profusely pending personal peril. Ms. Marilyn's mightily missed; much merriment meets members missing Marilyn when she deeMs to subMit meaningful messages!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
10th Sep 2014 (#)

Good morning, Phyl - wow, what effort and willingness to work at a wonderful comment. Good job, Phyl. Thanks for the welcome back, too. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
10th Sep 2014 (#)

(hat tip) ;)

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author avatar Helen Thomas
12th Sep 2014 (#)

Wholeheartedly wanting wisdom's wealth to ward off weariness, will watch and not waver from warnings in your writing.

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author avatar puncakceria
10th Dec 2014 (#)

Informative article. Thank you for sharing this.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
10th Dec 2014 (#)

Good evening, puncakceria; thanks for reading and commenting. ~Marilyn

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