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Common Figures of Speech 1: Alliteration, Assonance and Onomatopoeia

In this worksheet, students explore alliteration, assonance and onomatopoeia and learn how to recognise them as they read for meaning.

'Common Figures of Speech 1: Alliteration, Assonance and Onomatopoeia' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Curriculum topic:  Reading

Curriculum subtopic:  Awareness of Vocabulary, Form and Grammatical Features

Difficulty level:  

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Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Alliteration, Assonance and Onomatopoeia
 

Writers use figures of speech to build meaning into text they write in any genre. These techniques engage the reader's interest using sound and images, or by sequencing and contrasting ideas, to increase the effectiveness of the writer's words in conveying meaning.


There are many types of figures of speech. It is important that you recognise the most important ones and can reflect your knowledge and understanding when you are discussing or writing text. We are going to take a look at alliteration, assonance and onomatopoeia, then test what you have learned.

 

Alliteration

Alliteration is the repetition of the same first sound in a group of words in succession for emphasis.

Examples:

  • Everyone knew big, bold Billy from Brighton. The repetition of the 'b' sound reinforces our image of Billy and makes the associations of 'big', 'bold' and 'from Brighton' more memorable.
  • Tyger, Tyger burning bright.


 
Assonance

Assonance is the repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds in a group of words.

Examples:

  • His father's car is a Jaguar.
  • How now brown cow.

 
Onomatopoeia

This figure of speech applies when the sound reflects sense or meaning. The word sounds like its meaning.

Examples:

  • The leaves rustled in the wind. The word 'rustled' reflects the sound leaves in a tree make in a breeze.
  • The hum of the bees.

Identify whether these quotations show examples of alliteration or assonance.

 Alliteration Assonance
The stroke was swift and strong
I saw him fawning on the lawn
He chirped cheerfully
I broke my back building it
Blue moon
Their hatred hurt

Which figure of speech is used in this sentence?

Her hair was smooth and sleek.

 

Write your answer in the box below.

Which figures of speech are used in the following quotation from The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe?

What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!

 

Choose as many answers as you think are correct.

Alliteration

Assonance

Read the same excerpt again. Can you find an example of onomatopoeia in the last two lines?

What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!

 

Write the word in the box below.

The following quotation is taken from Alfred Tennyson's poem Come Down, O Maid. It is a good example of onomatopoeia.

...the moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees.

 

Which consonant is used to reflect the sound of bees humming? Write the letter in the box below.

Other than onomatopoeia, which figure of speech can you find in the quotation?


...the moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees.

 

Write your answer in the box below.

Identify the figure of speech used in each phrase.

 Alliteration Assonance Onomatopoeia
She was fair and frail
He flicked the switch
The bird chirped merrily
The plate clattered on the floor
The cat crept in
She bleats when she speaks
Eleventh heaven
It was a bright and balmy day

Identify the figures of speech used in this quote from The Daffodils by William Wordsworth:


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

 

Choose as many as you can find.

Alliteration

Assonance

Onomatopoeia

Which figure of speech can you find in this line from the poem The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe?

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary

 

Write the answer in the box below.

Match the figure of speech with its definition. Hover your mouse over the box to see the definition in full.

Column A

Column B

Alliteration
The sounds in the word reflect its sense or meanin...
Assonance
The repetition of the initial sound in a group of ...
Onomatopoeia
The repetition of vowel sounds in a group of words
  • Question 1

Identify whether these quotations show examples of alliteration or assonance.

CORRECT ANSWER
 Alliteration Assonance
The stroke was swift and strong
I saw him fawning on the lawn
He chirped cheerfully
I broke my back building it
Blue moon
Their hatred hurt
EDDIE SAYS
"The stroke was swift and strong", "He chirped cheerfully", "I broke my back building it" and "Their hatred hurt" all contain words that begin with the same sound and are examples of alliteration.
"I saw him fawning on the lawn" and "Blue moon" both repeat the same vowel sounds and are examples of assonance.
  • Question 2

Which figure of speech is used in this sentence?

Her hair was smooth and sleek.

 

Write your answer in the box below.

CORRECT ANSWER
alliteration
EDDIE SAYS
The 's' sound is repeated as the initial sound in the adjectives describing her hair, so it is an example of alliteration.
  • Question 3

Which figures of speech are used in the following quotation from The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe?

What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!

 

Choose as many answers as you think are correct.

CORRECT ANSWER
Alliteration
Assonance
EDDIE SAYS
Both figures of speech are used.

In the second line, "silent" and "night" have the same vowel sound. This is assonance.

Alliteration is present in "melancholy menace".

  • Question 4

Read the same excerpt again. Can you find an example of onomatopoeia in the last two lines?

What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!

 

Write the word in the box below.

CORRECT ANSWER
shiver
EDDIE SAYS
'Shiver' is an example of onomatopoeia.
  • Question 5

The following quotation is taken from Alfred Tennyson's poem Come Down, O Maid. It is a good example of onomatopoeia.

...the moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees.

 

Which consonant is used to reflect the sound of bees humming? Write the letter in the box below.

CORRECT ANSWER
m
EDDIE SAYS
The repetition of the 'm' sound reflects the sound of the bees.
  • Question 6

Other than onomatopoeia, which figure of speech can you find in the quotation?


...the moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees.

 

Write your answer in the box below.

CORRECT ANSWER
assonance
EDDIE SAYS
In the last line the 'ur' sound is repeated, an example of the use of assonance.
  • Question 7

Identify the figure of speech used in each phrase.

CORRECT ANSWER
 Alliteration Assonance Onomatopoeia
She was fair and frail
He flicked the switch
The bird chirped merrily
The plate clattered on the floor
The cat crept in
She bleats when she speaks
Eleventh heaven
It was a bright and balmy day
EDDIE SAYS
'Clattered' and 'chirped' are both words that sound like what they mean and are examples of onomatopoeia.

'Fair and frail', 'cat crept' and 'bright and balmy' repeat the same initial consonants for emphasis and are examples of alliteration.

The repetition of the 'ea' vowel in "bleat" and "speak", and the 'e' vowel in "Eleventh heaven" make these examples of assonance.

  • Question 8

Identify the figures of speech used in this quote from The Daffodils by William Wordsworth:


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

 

Choose as many as you can find.

CORRECT ANSWER
Assonance
Onomatopoeia
EDDIE SAYS
"Lonely", "floats", "host" and "daffodils" repeat the 'o' vowel sound and show the use of assonance.

The words "fluttering" and "breeze" sound like their meaning and are examples of onomatopoeia.

  • Question 9

Which figure of speech can you find in this line from the poem The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe?

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary

 

Write the answer in the box below.

CORRECT ANSWER
assonance
EDDIE SAYS
"Dreary", "weak" and "weary" repeat the 'ea' vowel sound and are an example of assonance.
  • Question 10

Match the figure of speech with its definition. Hover your mouse over the box to see the definition in full.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Alliteration
The repetition of the initial sou...
Assonance
The repetition of vowel sounds in...
Onomatopoeia
The sounds in the word reflect it...
EDDIE SAYS
Alliteration is the repetition of the initial sounds in a group of words.

Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in a group of words.

Onomatopoeia describes words that sound like their meaning.

---- OR ----

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