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  1. satxer

    satxer New Member

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    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

    mrAnon New Member

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    "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

    Elvis Member

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    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

    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    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

    Evil Flamingo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hands down, this is the best answer possible for this question.
     
  6. Halcyon

    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you, my friend. I like to think I have fleeting moments of inspiration.

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

    Evil Flamingo Contributing Member Contributor

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    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

    Laxaria Member

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    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

    Humour Whiffet Banned

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    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

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    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

    satxer New Member

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    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

    JZydowicz Member

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    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

    KP Williams Active Member

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    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

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    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

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    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

    Cyricist New Member

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    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

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    best advice, imo is to not alliterate on purpose, period...
     

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