Alliteration: Figure of emphasis that occurs through the repetition of initial consonant letters (or sounds) in two or more different words across successive sentences, clauses, or phrases. Two kinds may be distinguished: 1) Immediate juxtaposition occurs when the second consonant sound follows right after the first -- back-to-back. 2) Non-immediate juxtaposition occurs when the consonants occur in nonadjacent words.

 

Immediate Juxtaposition: "I think a need a bigger box." -- Taco Bell Commercial

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Non-immediate Juxtaposition: "No one standing in this house today can pass a puritanical test of purity that some are demanding that our elected leaders take." -- Richard Gephardt    

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Further Examples  

Rivers: Hello...Who's the honcho around here?

Radio Station Honcho: I am. Who're you?

"...Well, sir, I'm Jordan Rivers. And these here are the Soggy Bottom Boys out of Cottonelia, Mississippi -- songs of salvation to salve the soul. Uh, we hear that you pay good money to sing into a can."

-- delivered by George Clooney (from the movie 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?)

"Isn't that what being an international man of mystery is all about?"

-- delivered by Mike Myers (from the movie Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery)

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"Was he not unmistakably a little man? A creature of the petty rake-off, pocketed with a petty joke in private and denied with the stainless platitudes in his public utterances."

-- [C.S. Lewis] The Screwtape Letters

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"This generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen have volunteered in the time of certain danger. They are part of the finest fighting force that the world has ever known. They have served tour after tour of duty in distant, different, and difficult places...They are men and women -- white, black, and brown -- of all faiths and all stations -- all Americans, serving together to protect our people, while giving others half a world away the chance to lead a better life....In today’s wars, there's not always a simple ceremony that signals our troops’ success -- no surrender papers to be signed, or capital to be claimed...."

-- Barack Obama, Fort Hood Memorial Service Speech

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"With a determination for an execution consistent with our record, squaring our performances with our promises, we will proceed to the fulfillment of the Party's mission. God helping, it shall be accomplished."

-- Will H. Hays

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"Have you forgotten you're facing the single finest fighting force ever assembled."

-- delivered by Dan Ackroyd (from the movie Dragnet)

Note: Contains both immediate and non-immediate juxtaposition.

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"We can no longer afford to traffic in lies or fear or hate. It is the poison that we must purge from our politics, the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late. But if changing our hearts and our minds is the first critical step, we cannot stop there. It’s not enough to bemoan the plight of the poor in this country and remain unwilling to push our elected officials to provide the resources to fix our schools."

-- Barack Obama, Address at Ebenezer Baptist Church

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"Now in the third year of his Administration we find more of our people unemployed than at any other time. We find our houses empty and our people hungry; many of them half-clothed and many of them not clothed at all. We find not only the people not only going further into debt, but that the United States is going further into debt. The condition has become deplorable. Instead of his promises, the only remedy that Mr. Roosevelt has described is to borrow more money if he can, and to go further into debt. And with it all there stalks a slimy specter of want, hunger, destitution, and pestilence."

-- Huey P. Long, Address to Senate Staffers

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"Somewhere at this very moment a child is being born in America. Let it be our cause to give that child a happy home, a healthy family, and a hopeful future."

-- Bill Clinton, 1992 Democratic National Convention Acceptance Address

Note: Contains both immediate and non-immediate juxtaposition.

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"In the United States today we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism."

-- delivered by Spiro Agnew and written by William Safire, Address at San Diego, 11 September 1970

"And our nation itself is testimony to the love our veterans have had for it and for us. All for which America stands is safe today because brave men and women have been ready to face the fire at freedom's front."

-- Ronald Reagan, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Address

Note: Contains both immediate and non-immediate juxtaposition.

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"Step forward, Tin Man. You dare to come to me for a heart, do you? You clinking, clanking, clattering collection of caliginous junk...And you, Scarecrow, have the effrontery to ask for a brain! You billowing bale of bovine fodder!"

-- delivered by Frank "Wizard of Oz" Morgan (from the movie The Wizard of Oz)

Note: Contains both immediate and non-immediate juxtaposition.

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Rhetorical Figures in Sound

Online Speech Bank

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American Rhetoric.
Created by Michael E. Eidenmuller.
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