Difference Between Alliteration and Consonance

Main Difference – Alliteration vs Consonance

Both alliteration and consonance are literary devices that make use of the repetition of consonant sound in words that are in close proximity. Consonance can be defined as the repetition of consonant words in adjacent or closely connected words. Alliteration is a special case of consonance where the repetition occurs at the stressed part of the words. This is the main difference between alliteration and consonance.

What is Alliteration

Alliteration is the occurrence of the same consonant sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words. The repetition of the consonance sound must occur in a stressed part of a word, for it to be termed as alliteration.

The repetition of the same sound helps draw attention and creates more aural rhythm. Alliteration is mostly used in poetry, but it is not uncommon in prose and drama as well. Many tongue twisters also make use of alliteration.

A big black bug bit a big black dog and the big black dog bled blood.

But a better butter makes a batter better.

She sells seashells by the seashore.

Alliteration is a commonly used device in literature as it creates a musical effect in a text, and renders flow and beauty to a piece of writing. Here are some examples of alliteration in literature:

Example 1

Ages ago, Alex, Allen and Alva arrived at Antibes, and Alva allowing all, allowing anyone, against Alex’s admonition, against Allen’s angry assertion: another African amusement…

– Alphabetical Africa by Walter Abish 

Example 2

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;

-The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe 

Example 3

“The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,

The furrow followed free;

We were the first that ever burst

Into that silent sea.

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”

What is Consonance

Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in words that are in close proximity. Unlike in Alliteration, the repeated sound can appear anywhere in the word. Many common idioms, phrases, as well as tongue twisters, contain examples of consonance.

All’s well that ends well

A blessing in disguise

All mammals named Sam are clammy

Consonance is a commonly used figure of speech in both poetry and prose; however, it is significantly used in poetry since it adds a rhyming effect. Given below are some examples of consonance from literature.

Example 1

“It was many and many a year ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know

By the name of Annabel Lee; 

Example 2

And this maiden she lived with no other thought

Than to love and be loved by me.”

-“Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allen Poe 

Example 3

“A Quietness distilled

As Twilight long begun,

Or Nature spending with herself

Sequestered Afternoon”

-“As imperceptibly as Grief” by Emily Dickinson

Difference Between Alliteration and Consonance


Alliteration is a special case of consonance where the repetition occurs at the stressed part of the words.

Consonance is the repetition of consonant words in adjacent or closely connected words.

Consonant Sound

In Alliterationconsonant sound appear at the stressed part of the word.

In Consonanceconsonant sound can appear anywhere in the word.


Alliteration is a special case of consonance.

Consonance is the main category under which alliteration falls.Difference Between Alliteration and Consonance- infographic

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