1. satxer
    Offline

    satxer New Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0

    Excessive alliteration

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by satxer, May 2, 2010.

    Hi everyone

    I was charged with the task of writing a commemorative speech that I have to give in front of an audience. The professor gave us various possible elements to use in our speeches, and one of them was alliteration. What I'm wondering is, am I using too much? Should I shorten it? Thanks

    Ever since the dawn of life on Earth, we have lived in a world where the delicate are digested and defecated, dying dark demises at the proverbial hands of the dominant, who devour and destroy the demure and dainty.
     
  2. mrAnon
    Offline

    mrAnon New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    "who devour and destroy the demure and dainty." I think at this point it starts getting too far fetched, try working in something other than the d sound.
     
  3. Elvis
    Offline

    Elvis Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think you're trying too hard. That sentence has so many words that the focus becomes on the sounds rather than the substance. I read it twice and (although it's late, and that might be a big part of this) I have no idea what the hell you're talking about.

    It should come naturally. It's a neat little literary device. But don't try so hard.

    In that sentence, I like dominant and destroy, and demise isn't bad either.

    I would maybe say something like "where the dominant destroy the delicate" and leave it at that. Maybe add in one more word "destroy and devour" maybe. But the rest is overkill. It takes away from the substance of the sentence.
     
  4. Halcyon
    Offline

    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    England
    I definitely don't disapprove of this dastardly device but am decidedly disinclined to deploy its domination with such distinct and determined dedication. ;)
     
  5. Evil Flamingo
    Offline

    Evil Flamingo Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Messages:
    3,298
    Likes Received:
    27
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Hands down, this is the best answer possible for this question.
     
  6. Halcyon
    Offline

    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    England
    Thank you, my friend. I like to think I have fleeting moments of inspiration.

    I'm glad somebody noticed! ;)
     
  7. Evil Flamingo
    Offline

    Evil Flamingo Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Messages:
    3,298
    Likes Received:
    27
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Those are the answers I search for, the ones that make you think a little. The ones with a little under the surface. Otherwise answering questions would be menial.
     
  8. Laxaria
    Offline

    Laxaria Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Singapore
    Remember that you are speaking it out loud. So, in this case, alliterative usage should be both subtle and effective.

    Because it is a speech, you need to pay attention to how you pronounce and enunciate words. Write out what you want to say, then add the alliteration. It will help a lot more by not detracting from the purpose of the speech, while the revision and addition of alliteration will let you see the areas which need improvement.
     
  9. Humour Whiffet
    Offline

    Humour Whiffet Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Way too much. It’s the alliteration equivalent of someone saying he wants sugar in his coffee—and you go and empty in the entire bag! Use two or three words max.

    Also, be aware that in prose such word play is often sneered at and considered amateurish.
     
  10. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I love alliteration, but as with everything else, moderation is the watchword. As someone else said, you're trying too hard. If you choose words that fit poorly in semantic terms (i.e the meaning in context) just to fit an alliteration scheme, the end result will suffer.

    First priority is to write clearly and concisely. If there is a good clean opportunity for alliteration, take it. Otherwise, leave it alone. You'll find plenty of opportunities without straining your writing.

    A little goes a long way.
     
  11. satxer
    Offline

    satxer New Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks everyone, is this better?

    we have lived in a world where the delicate are destroyed by the dominant, and the powerful prey on the puny.
     
  12. JZydowicz
    Offline

    JZydowicz Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Please don't start your speech with "Since the dawn of life on Earth"

    Just trust me on this one. It's setting up the idea that your speech will be one of the greatest speeches of all time, like the Gettysburg Address or I Have a Dream. Please don't do that.
     
  13. KP Williams
    Offline

    KP Williams Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    608
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    My place
    Better, but it still doesn't sound natural to me. I think the P alliteration is too much. It stands out more than the D, calling attention to itself. In particular, I wouldn't imagine using the word puny in a speech. It has a casual, maybe even slightly arrogant sound to it. If you want to keep powerful and prey in there, I'd choose a different word, one that doesn't begin with the letter P.

    I also have to question your choice of tense. "We live..." sounds better to me than "We have lived..." Unless you want to keep your "Since the dawn of life on Earth" intro, in which case, that's fine. If you want to sound dramatic.

    My opinion only. Take it with a grain of salt, as I haven't written a single essay in over a year. :rolleyes:
     
  14. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    still too much... and it's obvious you're doing it on purpose, which is not a good thing in a speech, unless you have a good reason for doing so... i see no good reason there...
     
  15. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,994
    Likes Received:
    5,503
    To me, the words feel like they're chosen for the purpose of alliteration - it doesn't have that effortless feel. "Dominant" and "powerful" feel like the words that you meant to use. "Delicate" and "puny" feel like words that only sort of meant what you wanted, that are used because they had the right sound.
     
  16. Cyricist
    Offline

    Cyricist New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    In my opinion,you should spread the alliteration throughout the speech. Otherwise people will stop focusing on the meaning and just count the alliterations.
     
  17. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    best advice, imo is to not alliterate on purpose, period...
     

Share This Page