What Is Consonance? (with Examples)

Consonance

The Quick Answer
Consonance is when nearby words repeat the same consonant sounds.
Consonance is a stylistic literary technique in which neighbouring words repeat the same consonant sound.

Consonance is used for emphasis or to make a sentence more pleasing to the ear. It is used in everyday language, poetry, and literature. To form consonance, we need two or more words that share the same consonant sound. The shared sound can be anywhere in the words (not just the beginning like alliteration). It is important to focus on the sound rather than the letter because it is the sound that catches the audience's attention.

Easy Examples of Consonance

  • To crack a lock.
  • (The repeated ck sound creates the consonance.)
  • The witch stretched out to touch the wretched child.
  • (The repeated ch sound creates the consonance.)
Consonance contrasts with assonance, which is when nearby words repeat the same vowel sound.

Real-Life Examples of Consonance

  • We're bound by a bond that transcends the beyond.
  • (The repeated nd sound creates the consonance.)
  • I'm not rattled by your little tittle-tattle.
  • (The repeated st sound creates the consonance.)
  • The uncertainty of the source will cause despair.
  • (This example shows the importance of listening to the sounds rather than looking at the letters. The c in uncertain and the c in source are part of this "s-sound" consonance.)
  • He is part of a government think tank.
  • (The repeated nk sound creates the consonance.)
  • She swung her fist in angst against the beast.
Of note, alliteration (when nearby words start with the same letter) is a form of consonance.
  • Porky Pig pinched Peter Piper's peppers apparently.
  • (Be aware that alliteration can also include words that include the repeated consonant sound at the stressed syllable (not just the start), making apparently part of this alliterative string.)

Why Should I Care about Consonance?

Consonance is a common literary technique used by poets to draw in their readers as it compels readers to pause to consider the near rhyme created by consonance. Non-alliterative consonance can also add rhythm and musicality to writing without being as obvious as alliteration.

Consonance is less common in prose (especially business writing) than in poetry, but it can be useful for emphasis or for making a message more memorable.
  • The new logo says boorish and English but also stylish.
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See Also

What is alliteration? What is assonance? Try our anagram builder. Glossary of grammatical terms