How to Find a Rhyme Scheme

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A rhyme is the repetition of similar sounding syllables, generally at the end of two words. In a poem, the rhyme scheme refers to the pattern of rhyming words found within lines of a poem. While the rhyme scheme specifically refers to the pattern of end rhymes, other types of rhymes, including feminine rhymes and internal rhymes, exist in poetry.

Finding End Rhyme Scheme

Read the first line of the poem and highlight the last word in your first color.

Read the second line of the poem to determine whether the last syllable of the line matches -- in sound -- the first line.

Highlight the second line in the same color as the first line for a similar sound or highlight in a second color for a different sound.

Repeat the third step with the next line of the poem.

Label the matching sounds with the same letter. For example, all sounds matching the first line are labeled "A" while all sounds matching the second sound are labeled "B."

Write the rhyme scheme based on the number of different end syllable sounds. ABAB is an example of a common rhyme scheme indicating that the first and third lines end in the same sound while the second and fourth lines end in the same syllable.

Identifying Internal Rhyme Schemes

Find words in the middle of a line whose final syllable matches the rhyme at the end of the line.

Note the lines that contain internal rhymes.

List lines with internal rhyme schemes by the number of the line of the stanza. For example, Line #3 and Line #8 contain internal rhyme schemes.

Things Needed

  • Dictionary
  • Highlighter


About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Jana Sosnowski holds Master of Science in educational psychology and instructional technology, She has spent the past 11 years in education, primarily in the secondary classroom teaching English and journalism. Sosnowski has also worked as a curriculum writer for a math remediation program. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from the University of Southern California.

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