Types of Rhyme: Definition, Examples & Schemes (2023)

A rhyme is when two words sound alike, for example, 'blue' sounds like 'blew'. Even though the spelling is different, the sound is the same.

'Blue' or 'blew' can also rhyme with 'shoe' and 'too': the initial sounds of these words are different (i.e. 'sh' and 't'), but the ending sounds the same.

Rhyming can add musicality to text, and it can also make a text more memorable. We can find rhymes in poetry, children's nursery rhymes, and songs. These are often divided into sections that contain several consecutive lines that rhyme, which we call verses.

Let's take a look at some more rhyming words:

True - through - crew

Need - lead - knead

Knot - not - dot

Shine - line - mine

Even though these words open with different consonants, the last parts sound the same, such as in 'true', 'through', and 'crew'.

Can you think of any other words that rhyme?

It is not definitely known when rhyming was first used; very possibly it has been around since human speech began. The earliest written rhymes in English can be found dating back to the 7th century in a 'Hymn' by the Anglo-Saxon poet Caedmon.

Types of rhyme with examples

There are several types of rhyme including: perfect rhyme, imperfect rhyme, end rhyme, feminine rhyme, masculine rhyme, eye rhyme, pararhyme, monorhyme, monosyllabic rhyme, multisyllabic rhyme and dactylic rhyme.

The three most common types of rhyme, and the types that we will concentrate on in this article, are:

  • Perfect rhyme

  • Imperfect rhyme

  • End rhyme

Perfect or full rhyme

Perfect rhyme is when two words share the same vowel sound in the final syllable and have identical final consonants.

  • The words 'fleet' and 'treat' rhyme perfectly because the vowel sounds 'ee' and 'ea' sound identical, and both words end with the consonant 't'.
  • The words 'brought' and 'thought' also match perfectly because the vowel sounds 'ough' in each word sound the same, and both words end with the consonant 't'.

There are many words that rhyme in this way. Can you think of more?

Perfectly rhyming words can also have more than one syllable.

'Double' and 'trouble'

'Able' and 'table'

'Flower' and 'power'

'Reasonable' and 'seasonable'

(Video) Types of Rhyme and Rhyme Scheme

Shakespeare often uses perfect rhyme in his plays and sometimes entire speeches are written in perfect rhyme. We can see this in the speech below:

ADRIANA:

Patience unmoved! no marvel though she pause;

They can be meek that have no other cause.

A wretched soul, bruised with adversity,

We bid be quiet when we hear it cry;

But were we burdened with like weight of pain,

As much or more would we ourselves complain:

So thou, that hast no unkind mate to grieve thee,

With urging helpless patience wouldst relieve me,

But, if thou live to see like right bereft,

This fool-begg'd patience in thee will be left.

(Shakespeare, Comedy of Errors, 1589–94)

At some time in the past, some words may have rhymed perfectly (eg, 'adversity' and 'cry') but over time the pronunciation has changed so they cease to rhyme in modern pronunciation. These are called historical rhymes .

Imperfect or Half Rhyme

In this kind of rhyme, the rhyming words do not sound identical; they only sound 'half' similar (hence half-rhyme).

In the first verse of Emily Dickinson's 'Hope', for example, the words 'soul' and 'all' are not an exact match, and are only vaguely similar in sound:

"Hope" is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops - at all -

(Emily Dickinson, 'Hope', 1891)

In another one of Dickinson's poems, 'Because I could not stop for Death', the words 'day' and 'eternity' each end in a 'y' but share little else, relying on rhythm instead.

Try reading the lines aloud to hear the half-rhymes in the poem.

Since then - 'tis Centuries - and yet

Feels shorter than the day

I first surmised the Horses' Heads

(Video) Rhyming Schemes

Were toward Eternity - '

(Emily Dickinson, 'Because I could not stop for Death', 1890)

End rhyme

End rhymes are the most frequently used rhyme and occur when phrases end in rhyming syllables.

We can see examples of end rhymes in TS Eliot's poem 'Macavity the Mystery Cat'. Can you identify where the rhyming words are?:

Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the Hidden Paw—

For he's the master criminal who can defy the law.

He's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair:

For when they reach the scene of crime - Macavity's not there!

(TS Eliot, 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats', 1939)

'Paw' in the first line rhymes with 'law ' in the second line, and 'despair' rhymes with '(not) there'.

Because these rhymes fall at the end of each line, we call them end rhymes.

Shakespeare often used end rhymes to show the audience that a scene was coming to an end.

Nursery song rhymes

Rhyming is a helpful tool for memorizing words, which is possibly why rhyming has traditionally been used in songs and riddles for children.

Nursery rhymes have been handed down through oral tradition and often have historical or political origins. The following rhyme, for example, is believed to commemorate the bubonic plague, otherwise known as the 'Black Death', and its symptoms:

A ring a ring of roses

A pocket full of posies

Atishoo Atishoo

All fall down! '

(Anon)

The first line 'a ring of roses' describes the circular rash that would appear on the victim's skin. In the second line 'posies' refers to a mix of herbs and flowers which were carried by people to protect themselves from catching the plague. 'Atishoo!' refers to the final symptom of sneezing, and the last line 'all fall down' means 'we all fall down - dead!'

Other rhymes were more satirical, as in 'Georgy Porgy' which is thought to refer to George IV:

Georgy Porgy pudding and pie

Kissed the girls and made them cry

(Video) Types of Rhyme

When the boys came out to play

Georgy Porgy ran away.

(Anon)

'Georgy', or Prince Regent (later George IV), was keen on food and women; the line 'when the boys came out to play' might be referring to the women's husbands retaliating - at which point George, who was noted for his cowardice, would withdraw.

Types of Rhyme: Definition, Examples & Schemes (1)The nursery rhyme Hickory Dickory Dock is another that uses rhyming to create a fun, memorable rhyme and rhythm. - Wikimedia Commons (Fig. 1)

Types of poetry rhyme

Poets not only rely on rhyming when writing poetry, they also rely on structure, or rhyme scheme, to help them build or 'sculpt' their works on paper. Let's explore what rhyme schemes are and then take a closer look a few specific types of rhyme scheme: rhyming couplets, alternate rhymes, and the sonnet.

Types of rhyme scheme with examples

Rhyme schemes are patterns of rhyme used when writing a poem. When describing the pattern we use letters of the alphabet:

Georgy Porgy pudding and pie A.

Kissed the girls and made them cry A.

When the boys came out to play B.

Georgy Porgy ran away. B.

Because 'pie' and 'cry' rhyme in the first two lines, these lines are marked 'A'.

Because 'play' and 'away' rhyme in the second two lines, these lines are marked 'B'.

The letters mark the rhyme scheme of the poem. So, in this example, we can see that 'Georgy Porgy' has an AABB rhyme scheme. This is just one example of a rhyme scheme - there are many different possible combinations!

Rhyming couplets

Let's take another look at TS Eliot's 'Macavity' and see which lines rhyme:

Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the Hidden Paw—

For he's the master criminal who can defy the law.

He's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair:

For when they reach the scene of crime - Macavity's not there!

'Macavity' has lines that rhyme in pairs, such as 'paw' and 'law', 'despair' and '(not) there'. We call these rhyming couplets. So, just like in the previous example of 'Georgy Porgy', 'Macavity' has an AABB rhyme scheme which means that it is made up of pairs of lines that rhyme and usually share the same rhythm.

Typically, rhyming lines in couplets will also be similar in length. Try counting the syllables in each line of 'Macavity'. Are they the same? Now read it aloud and listen to the rhythm.

Alternate rhyme

Another typical rhyme scheme is ABAB. This means the first line will rhyme with the third, and the second line will rhyme with the fourth. This is also called alternate rhyme and can be seen in poems with verses of 4 lines (called stanzas).

Take a look at the rhyming words in this section of 'The Song of the Jellicles' by TS Eliot.

Jellicle Cats have cheerful faces,

Jellicle Cats have bright black eyes;

They like to practice their airs and graces

And wait for the Jellicle Moon to rise.

(Video) What is Rhyme in English poetry? Definition/Types of rhyme/ Explanation with examples#rhyme

'Faces' in line 1 rhymes with 'graces' from line 2 (so we have A _ A _).

'Eyes' from line 3 matches 'rise' from line 4 (so we have _B_B).

If we combine these together, we can see that the poem has the rhyme scheme ABAB.

The sonnet

A sonnet is a poem of 14 lines with a varying rhythm scheme; originally Italian, it was introduced into England in the 16th century and has remained a popular poetic form ever since.

The English or Shakespearean sonnet has three 4-line stanzas, each line containing ten syllables, and finishes with a couplet. The rhyme scheme, therefore, is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.

Types of Rhyme: Definition, Examples & Schemes (2)William Shakespeare famously used the same rhyming scheme for his many sonnets. - Wikimedia Commons.

Shakespeare wrote over 150 sonnets using this scheme. In 'Sonnet 12' (1609), the speaker observes the passing of time and ends with a couplet advising to cheat death by having children and, thereby, living on through them.

'When I do count the clock that tells the time, A.

And see the brave day sunk in hideous night; B.

When I behold the violet past prime, A.

And sable curls, all silvered o'er with white; B.

When lofty trees I see barren of leaves, C

Which only from heat did canopy the stove, D

And summer's green all girded up in sheaves, C.

Borne on the beer with white and bristly beard, D

Then of thy beauty do I question make, E.

That thou among the wastes of time must go, F.

Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake E.

And die as fast as they see others grow; F.

And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence G

Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence. ' G

Have you ever tried writing a sonnet? How would you write about the topic of time? Is time something to be afraid of, or to embrace?

Rhyme is not everyone's favourite (some poets avoid it altogether!), But many use it for its capacity to add harmony and impact to their work, thereby enriching the reader's experience and understanding.

Rhymes - Key takeaways

  • A rhyme is when two words sound alike.
  • Rhyming can make it easier to remember things and adds musicality to text.
  • The three most common types of rhyme are: Perfect rhyme, Imperfect rhyme and End rhyme.
  • The perfect rhyme is when two words share the same vowel sound in the final syllable and the final consonants of the two words are identical.
  • The imperfect rhyme is when the rhyming words do not sound identical; they only sound 'half' similar.
  • End rhymes happen when the phrases end in rhyming syllables.

References

  1. Fig. 1. AbbythePup, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
(Video) Rhyme with examples and Types

FAQs

What is rhyme scheme and its types? ›

There are many different types of rhymes that poets use in their work: internal rhymes, slant rhymes, eye rhymes, identical rhymes, and more. One of the most common ways to write a rhyming poem is to use a rhyme scheme composed of shared vowel sounds or consonants.

What are the 4 types of rhyme schemes and their letters? ›

For example, for a three-line poem, there is only one rhyming scheme in which every line rhymes with at least one other (AAA), while for a four-line poem, there are four such schemes (AABB, ABAB, ABBA, and AAAA).

What is rhyming scheme with examples? ›

Rhyme schemes are described using letters of the alphabet, such that all the lines in a poem that rhyme with each other are assigned a letter, beginning with "A." For example, a four-line poem in which the first line rhymes with the third line, and the second line rhymes with the fourth line has the rhyme scheme ABAB, ...

What are the types of rhyme? ›

Types of Rhyme
  • End Rhymes. Rhyming of the final words of lines in a poem. ...
  • Internal Rhymes. Rhyming of two words within the same line of poetry. ...
  • Slant Rhymes (sometimes called imperfect, partial, near, oblique, off etc.) ...
  • Rich Rhymes. ...
  • Eye Rhymes. ...
  • Identical Rhymes.

What is AABB ABAB rhyme scheme? ›

Today we will examine the ABAB rhyme scheme. The ABAB rhyme scheme means that for every four lines, the first and third lines will rhyme with each other and the second and fourth lines will also rhyme with each other.

What is rhyme scheme name? ›

Types of Rhyme Scheme

Monorhyme: It is a poem in which every line uses the same rhyme scheme. Couplet: It contains two-line stanzas with the “AA” rhyme scheme, which often appears as “AA BB CC and DD…” Triplet: It often repeats like a couplet, uses rhyme scheme of “AAA.” Enclosed rhyme: It uses rhyme scheme of “ABBA”

What are 3 types of rhyming? ›

Some common types of rhyme include: Perfect rhyme occurs when two words match exactly in sound. Imperfect rhyme means the words sound nearly alike, but not exactly. End rhyme describes words that rhyme at the ends of two lines of poetry.

What are 4 rhyming lines called? ›

A quatrain is a rhymed grouping of four lines in a poem. It can be a poem that has only four lines, or it can be a stanza in a longer poem. Many long ballads are written in quatrains, and you also see them as a component of Shakespearean sonnets.

What are rhyming words give 5 examples? ›

List some rhyming words examples.
  • List some rhyming words examples.
  • Class – Mass – Gas – Pass – Glass – Grass – Brass – Surpass.
  • Cook – Book – Took – Look – Hook.
  • Cool – School – Rule – Tool – Pool – Fool.
  • Cut – Hut – Shut – But – What.
  • Day – Gay – Way – Say – May – Stay – Ray – Bay – Clay – Decay.

What are the 5 rhyming words? ›

Rhyming words List
  • Cat – Sat – Bat.
  • Ball – Fall – Tall.
  • Right – Kite – Height.
  • Owl – Towel – Growl.
  • Bore – Four – Roar.
  • Rock – Chalk – Hawk.
  • One – Gun – Won.
  • Face – Place – Race.
8 Sept 2022

How many types of rhyme schemes are there? ›

Types Of Rhyme Scheme
TypeRhyme Structure
MonorhymeAAAA
Simple four-line rhymeABCB
Terza rimaABA BCB
TripletAAA
6 more rows
13 Apr 2021

How do you write a rhyme scheme? ›

The pattern of rhymes in a poem is written with the letters a, b, c, d, etc. The first set of lines that rhyme at the end are marked with a. The second set are marked with b. So, in a poem with the rhyme scheme abab, the first line rhymes with the third line, and the second line rhymes with the fourth line.

What is rhyme in English? ›

A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds (usually, the exact same phonemes) in the final stressed syllables and any following syllables of two or more words. Most often, this kind of perfect rhyming is consciously used for a musical or aesthetic effect in the final position of lines within poems or songs.

What is ABAB CDCD Efef GG? ›

Sonnet: A 14-line poem usually written in iambic pentameter and with any several traditional rhyme schemes. A sonnet usually consists of two parts: and eight-line section (the octet) followed by a six-line section (a sestet). The Shakespearean sonnet rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.

What is a AABB poem called? ›

limerick, a popular form of short, humorous verse that is often nonsensical and frequently ribald. It consists of five lines, rhyming aabba, and the dominant metre is anapestic, with two metrical feet in the third and fourth lines and three feet in the others.

What is AABB stand for? ›

Learn more about how AABB's services help individuals and institutions advance transfusion medicine and biotherapies. AABB is now the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies.

What are 2 rhyming lines called? ›

A couplet usually consists of two successive lines that rhyme and have the same metre. A couplet may be formal (closed) or run-on (open). In a formal (or closed) couplet, each of the two lines is end-stopped, implying that there is a grammatical pause at the end of a line of verse.

What is a 7 line rhyming poem called? ›

A 7-line poem is called a Septet. It can also be known as a Rhyme Royal.

What is a 3 line poem called? ›

A poetic unit of three lines, rhymed or unrhymed.

What is a 11 line poem called? ›

Terza Rima A type of poetry consisting of 10 or 11 syllable lines arranged in three-line tercets.

How do you find the rhyme scheme of a poem? ›

You can work out the rhyme scheme of a poem by labelling the words that rhyme with each other. It will help you see the pattern of the poem. For example, if a poem's first and third lines rhyme you should label those 'A'. If the second and fourth lines of the poem rhyme, label these 'B'.

How many rhyming words are there? ›

Running this code on the words in the cmudict got me 10,762 rhyme groups. So barring any other edgecases that's the number of rhymes in English.

Why do words rhyme? ›

'why' may also rhyme with: bye · cry · die · dries · fly · fry · guy · high · lie · my

Why is rhyming important? ›

Why is rhyming an important skill for children to learn? Recognizing rhyming words is a basic level of phonemic awareness. Rhyming requires that children listen closely for sounds within words. Children who recognize rhyme learn that words are made up of separate parts.

What rhymes with the word 12? ›

WordRhyme ratingCategories
delve100Verb
shelve100Verb
elve100Noun, Verb
Felv100Name, Adjective
96 more rows

What rhymes with 5 for a poem? ›

Words That Rhyme With Five
  • Syllable Words That Rhyme With Five. Ave. Bove. Brave. Calve. Carve. Cave. Cleave. Clive. Clove. Clyve. Cove. Crave. Curve. Delve. ...
  • Syllable Words That Rhyme With Five. Above. Active. Agave. Alcove. Alive. Arrive. Behave. Connive. Contrive. Dative. Deprive. Derive. Endive. Evolve. ...
  • Syllable Words That Rhyme With Five.

Why are rhyme schemes used? ›

The Importance of Rhyme

In traditional poetry, a regular rhyme aids the memory for recitation and gives predictable pleasure. A pattern of rhyme, called a scheme, also helps establish the form. For example, the English sonnet has an "abab cdcd efef gg" scheme, ending with a couplet.

What is the rhyme scheme answer? ›

Rhyme scheme is a poet's deliberate pattern of lines that rhyme with other lines in a poem or a stanza. The rhyme scheme, or pattern, can be identified by giving end words that rhyme with each other the same letter.

What is a end rhyme? ›

end rhyme, in poetry, a rhyme that occurs in the last syllables of verses, as in stanza one of Robert Frost's “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”: Related Topics: rhyme rime suffisante ...(Show more)

What is End rhyme example? ›

Here's a quick and simple definition: End rhyme refers to rhymes that occur in the final words of lines of poetry. For instance, these lines from Dorothy Parker's poem "Interview" use end rhyme: "The ladies men admire, I've heard, / Would shudder at a wicked word."

What's a rhythm scheme? ›

Rhyme scheme is a poet's deliberate pattern of lines that rhyme with other lines in a poem or a stanza. The rhyme scheme, or pattern, can be identified by giving end words that rhyme with each other the same letter. For instance, take the poem 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star', written by Jane Taylor in 1806.

What is rhyme scheme simple definition? ›

In the lines of a poem, the pattern of words that sound alike is called a rhyme scheme. In a traditional ABAB rhyme scheme, the last word of every other line rhymes.

What are the three types of rhyme in poetry? ›

The three most common types of rhyme in poetry are:
  • Full rhyme: also known as a perfect rhyme. These rhymes share the same number of syllables and the same assonance.
  • Half-rhyme: also known as slant, imperfect, and near rhyme. ...
  • Internal rhyme: rhymes that appear in the middle of lines rather than at the end of lines.

What is an end rhyme scheme? ›

End rhyme is defined as “when a poem has lines ending with words that sound the same.” End rhyme is also called tail rhyme or terminal rhyme. It is one of many types of rhyme.

How is rhyme scheme written? ›

The pattern of rhymes in a poem is written with the letters a, b, c, d, etc. The first set of lines that rhyme at the end are marked with a. The second set are marked with b. So, in a poem with the rhyme scheme abab, the first line rhymes with the third line, and the second line rhymes with the fourth line.

What is called rhyme? ›

A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds (usually, the exact same phonemes) in the final stressed syllables and any following syllables of two or more words. Most often, this kind of perfect rhyming is consciously used for a musical or aesthetic effect in the final position of lines within poems or songs.

How many rhymes are there? ›

Running this code on the words in the cmudict got me 10,762 rhyme groups. So barring any other edgecases that's the number of rhymes in English.

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