7 sound techniques for effective writing

Use alliteration, onomatopoeia and other rhetorical devices to enrich your writing.

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The following rhetorical tools enrich writing by eliciting a primal emotional response in readers:

1. Alliteration

Alliteration, the pattern of two or more words within a phrase or sentence that begin with the same sound, is an effective form of emphasis that adds lyricism to even straightforward prose and influences the mood.

Alliteration can be delivered in consecutive words: “They have served tour after tour of duty in distant, different, and difficult places.” Or it can recur with gaps of one or more nonalliterative words: “Squaring our performances with our promises, we will proceed to the fulfillment of the party’s mission.”

2. Assonance

Assonance, akin to alliteration, is the repetition of vowel sounds in a phrase or a longer passage: “The clamor of the band addled them.”

3. Consonance

As the name implies, consonance refers to repetition of consonants—specifically, those at the ends of words: “Their maid has spread the word of their deed.”

4. Onomatopoeia

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