Information Services Office   4.10.2011

384

 
Newsletter No. 384 > Style Speaks > Alliteration

Alliteration

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The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines alliteration as ‘the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words’. Many English phrases and idioms are alliterative as in the following examples:


friend or foe

sight and sound

without fear or favour

This technique is frequently found in the best kinds of English writing and much favoured by journalists. In a Time article, Hannah Beech ends one of her sentences with two alliterative words:


Korea’s relations with America have long seesawed between peace and peril. (Time, 24 June 2002)


In an article on the geopolitical implications of World Cup 2002 that took place in Japan and South Korea, Tim Parks uses two pairs of alliterative city names to express the wide expanse of the globe:


Tokyo and Seoul are at a safe and expensive distance from Moscow and Manchester and Berlin and Buenos Aires. (‘Soccer: A Matter of Love and Hate’, New York Review of Books, 18 July 2002)


Before Europe had a unified currency, the late English novelist Malcolm Bradbury had this déjà vu prediction about the different currencies:


Francs will fade, Deutschmarks dissolve, escudos expire, lire lapse, the krona will crash. (To the Hermitage, Picador, 2000, p. 13)


Editor
www.iso.cuhk.edu.hk/english/features/style-speaks/index.html

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