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Types of Rhymes in Poetry


Rhyming is not always present in poetry as it comes and goes with literary fashion. When it is present, it falls into three distinct types. Rhyming can depend on similarity of sound, relation to cadence, or position in the line or stanza. Being able to discern these differences in rhyming poetry will help you better understand the style and the intent of the writer.

Similarity Rhymes

What comes to most people's minds when they hear the word "rhyme" is similarity in sounds: fat/cat, fox/socks, sat/hat, and so on. This is known as "rhyme by nature of similarity." Often it is referred to as a full rhyme, a "true" rhyme or a perfect rhyme. This sort of rhyming includes consonant rhyming as well, which pairs similar consonants with different vowels as in limp/lump or bit/bet. Although writing poetry with this type of obvious rhyme fell out of style in the 19th Century, it is still prevalent in today's children's literature and is also popular in Hip Hop, Rap and often in the chorus lyrics of popular songs. Traditional rhyming poetry is also quite popular with jumping rope as the participants recite the poetry in time with the rope's movements.

Rhymes in Stress Patterns

Rhyming can also occur in poetry not only by simple sounds and words, but in words that are stressed in the same manner. Take, for example, flying/dying, words that have the same number of syllables and construction. The same goes for two- or three-syllable words such as generate/venerate and captions/functions. The manner in which the words are pronounced as well as their sounds are remarkably similar.

Rhymes by Position

Position in a line is very important when it comes to rhyming. Rhyming that occurs by position includes the traditional end rhyme in which the last word to every line contains a matching sound. Initial rhymes are those rhymes or alliterations that occur at the beginning of a sentence. These types of rhymes do not have any rhymes in the center of the line or on the end. In contrast, a medial rhyme is a rhyme that occurs at the middle of the sentence and will rhyme with a word at the end of the sentence. This sort of rhyme can also happen in various places in the same stanza and still count as a rhyme by position.

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