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Alliteration vs. Repetition: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on October 10, 2023
Alliteration is the repetition of initial consonant sounds in successive words, while Repetition involves reiterating words or phrases in a text.

Key Differences

Alliteration and Repetition are both poetic devices that enhance the rhythm and appeal of a text. Alliteration focuses on the echoing of consonant sounds at the beginning of words placed near each other, often adding a musical tone to the lines. Repetition, meanwhile, emphasizes a word or phrase by reusing it, reinforcing its importance or meaning.
A classic example of Alliteration is "She sells sea shells by the sea shore." Here, the 's' sound is repeated at the beginning of each word. This device makes the phrase catchy and memorable. On the other hand, Repetition can be seen in Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech where he repeated the phrase "I have a dream" to emphasize his vision and hope.
While Alliteration requires a certain sequence - the same consonant sound at the start of adjacent or closely connected words, Repetition doesn't have such constraints. Repetition can be employed anywhere within lines or stanzas, and can involve any word, phrase, or even entire sentences.
Both Alliteration and Repetition play pivotal roles in literature. Alliteration provides a lyrical quality, making texts pleasant to hear. Repetition, by highlighting certain parts of the text, allows authors to underscore themes, emotions, or motifs central to the piece.

Comparison Chart


Repetition of initial consonant sounds in words.
Reiteration of words or phrases in a text.


Beginning of successive words.
Anywhere within lines or stanzas.


Adds musicality and rhythm.
Emphasizes, reinforces meaning or theme.


Must be consonant sounds at the start of words.
No specific location or structure.

Common in

Poems, tongue twisters, brand names.
Speeches, poems, songs, and prose.

Alliteration and Repetition Definitions


The echoing of initial sounds in two or more words in close proximity.
Lucy loves light blue lilies.


The act of saying or writing something again.
And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.


A stylistic device that creates a pleasing rhythm.
Dunkin’ Donuts delights daily.


A rhetorical technique to add emphasis, unity, or clarity.
Yes, yes, yes! We are winning!


A poetic device where initial consonant sounds are repeated in successive words.
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.


Deliberate reuse of words or phrases for effect.
Because I do not hope to turn again Because I do not hope.


Consonant repetition at the beginning of adjacent words.
Big brown bears bounding briskly.


Echoing of a specific word for focus or intensity.
Alone, alone, all, all alone.


The repetition of identical or similar sounds at the beginning of words or in stressed syllables, as in "on scrolls of silver snowy sentences" (Hart Crane). Modern alliteration is predominantly consonantal; certain literary traditions, such as Old English verse, also alliterate using vowel sounds.


Recurrence of an action or event.
Every day, every hour, I think of you.


The repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of two or more words immediately succeeding each other, or at short intervals.


The act or process or an instance of repeating or being repeated.


The recurrence of the same letter in accented parts of words, as in Anglo-Saxon alliterative meter.


A recitation or recital, especially of prepared or memorized material.


The repetition of the same letter at the beginning of two or more words immediately succeeding each other, or at short intervals; as in the following lines: -
Behemoth, biggest born of earth, upheavedHis vastness.
Fly o'er waste fens and windy fields.
In a somer seson whan soft was the sonne,I shope me in shroudes as I a shepe were.


The act or an instance of repeating or being repeated.


Use of the same consonant at the beginning of each stressed syllable in a line of verse;
Around the rock the ragged rascal ran


(weightlifting): The act of performing a single, controlled exercise motion. A group of repetitions is a set.


The recurrence of similar sounds at the start of words.
Mickey Mouse makes magic.


To petition again.


The act of repeating; a doing or saying again; iteration.
I need not be barren of accusations; he hath faults, with surplus to tire in repetition.


Recital from memory; rehearsal.


The act of repeating, singing, or playing, the same piece or part a second time; reiteration of a note.


Reiteration, or repeating the same word, or the same sense in different words, for the purpose of making a deeper impression on the audience.


The measurement of an angle by successive observations with a repeating instrument.


An event that repeats;
The events today were a repeat of yesterday's


The act of doing or performing again


The repeated use of the same word or word pattern as a rhetorical device


Can Alliteration appear in the middle of words?

Typically, alliteration refers to initial sounds of words, not middle or end.

What is the main purpose of Repetition in texts?

Repetition emphasizes, reinforces, or adds clarity to certain words or ideas.

How often can Repetition occur in a text?

Repetition can occur as often as the author deems necessary for emphasis or effect.

What does Alliteration focus on?

Alliteration focuses on repeating initial consonant sounds in successive words.

Why is Alliteration common in brand names?

It makes brand names catchy and easier to remember.

Can Repetition be an entire sentence?

Yes, entire sentences or even paragraphs can be repeated for emphasis.

Can vowels be part of Alliteration?

Yes, if the initial sounds of words are vowels and they're echoed, it's alliteration.

Are Alliteration and Repetition used only in poetry?

No, both can be used in various forms of literature, speeches, and even in everyday language.

Is Alliteration only about sound?

Yes, it's about the auditory repetition of initial consonant sounds.

How does Repetition affect the reader or listener?

Repetition reinforces ideas, making them more memorable or impactful.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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