As a website content author, I often find it hard to achieve a balance between being concise, and being overly verbose. I naturally lean toward the latter, as this sentence clearly demonstrates! However, I make no excuse for this. The difference between an engaging page, and a boring page, is often how the words are written. Regardless of the actual facts delivered.
In an effort to make short texts engaging, I have a variety of tools I like to wheel out, and my two absolute favorites are alliteration and assonance. I guess a lot of people are wondering just what these are right about now? Well, they sound like they might be complicated concepts, but they are actually very simple to use, and can be extremely effective for writing compelling text.
I think an example might be best. My all-time favorite examples of both alliteration and assonance are actually in the same sentence, and are one of the lyrics of a song titled Open Road Song, by the band EVE 6. I have reproduced it below:
“I crack a window, and feel the cool air cleanse my every pore, as I pour my poor heart out.”
We are specifically looking at this part:
“my every pore, as I pour my poor heart out.”
This is a fantastic example of a clever combination of both concepts. You see the use of the words pore, pour and poor? This is alliteration because of the common sound produced by the consonant at the start of each word, and it is also an example of assonance, because of the shared sound of the vowels. But it does not stop there, we also have the words my, I and my used between these words, and this is another valid example of assonance.
Why do I love this kind of word play? Well, it simply feels good. Try saying “I pour my poor” out loud. It’s actually pleasant, and kind of quirky to say and read. However, my main reason for using these techniques is to write compelling titles and headings. For example, let’s say we are trying to come up with a title for a news article, the subject being the police arresting some thieves, purely hypothetical. We could write a title like this:
Police Apprehend Thieves
Nothing wrong with this title, it works, when you read it you know exactly what to expect in the article, and it makes sense. However, let’s apply a little word play, in the form of alliteration, and come up with another title, maybe something like this:
Cops Catch Crooks
This title has much more impact than the first title, but it still gets the message across just as clearly. This is an extremely simple example of alliteration, but an easy one to understand. With a little thought and practice, you are sure to find many other ways in which alliteration and assonance can spice up your content. Take a look at the title of this blog post, what do you see?
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