Erin's Poetry Tips

40 tips to poetry and poetry forums

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


1. correspondence in the sounds of two or more lines (especially final sounds)
2. a piece of poetry
3. compose rhymes
4. be similar in sound, especially with respect to the last syllable

Rhyme is a pretty basic concept in poetry,
or, is it? There’s perfect rhyme, or half-rhyme: masculine, feminine or triple, as well as eye rhyme and internal rhyme. Maybe not so simple as most think. We tend to think of rhyme as simple, more for it’s effect on poetry than the level of difficulty involved in understanding it and employing it.
Unfortunately, many people are so ingrained from childhood that rhyme is the defining characteristic of poetry, that some never overcome that belief and fail to understand that rhyme is more complex than ‘cat’ and ‘hat’. There’s a reason they teach perfect rhyme in elementary school – because it creates elementary poetry!
Another problem with rhyme is what’s called “forced rhyme”. This is a situation where the writer is so concerned about the integrity of the rhyme scheme that he sacrifices the integrity of the piece itself, by adding or subtracting words or lines simply for the sake of getting a rhyming word into the right spot. This results in poetry full of unnecessary language and lines that make little sense or are unrelated to the original message. In a case like this, the rhyme cannot serve to strengthen poetry, only to weaken it.

This can be solved by using a different type of rhyme or a looser rhyme scheme, or, believe it or not, doing away with rhyme all together, depending on which works better within the piece. Whichever you choose to do, be informed and educated on the different types of rhyme to give yourself, and your piece, a better chance to succeed.

Perfect Rhyme:
Also known as exact rhyme

The words start with different consonant sounds, and have identical stressed sounds. In the case of a multiple-syllable word, all following syllables are rhymed as well.
mine, fine, wine, line, tine
sending, mending, tending, lending
slow, flow, glow, snow

Half Rhyme:
Also known as near rhyme

Rhyme in which the final consonant sounds of two words are the same, but the initial consonants and the vowel sounds are different.
soul, oil, foul
taut, sat, knit

Words beginning in different consonant sounds end in identical stressed syllables
Support, retort, extort

Also known as double rhyme
Words where the first syllables are different, and then are followed by a stressed rhyming syllable, and an unstressed rhyming syllable.
Survival, revival, arrival
The words have different consonant sounds followed by identical stressed vowel sounds and then two identical unstressed syllables.
Greenery, scenery, machinery

End Rhyme:
Also known as Terminal rhyme
End rhyme is self explanatory – the rhyming words fall at the end of two rhyming lines.
“They walked slowly, hand in hand
and found the nearest hot dog stand”

Internal rhyme:
This also refers to the location of the rhyming words in the lines. Internal rhyme is when two rhyming words are placed within a single line.
“She sang her song, sweet and long
Until he fell asleep”

And for the fun of it:
Eye Rhyme:
When two words appear to rhyme, but don’t.
Bough, tough, though

And you thought rhyme was simple!?