Consonance - Explore What It Is, Its Meaning, Definition, Usage and Examples

In the English language, rhetorical devices or figures of speech are literary devices that are used to beautify the language and make it look and sound a lot more appealing and pleasing. It is different from a normal sentence in many ways. Alliteration, assonance and consonance are among the most interesting figurative devices. Learning what they are and using them in your writing, especially if you are into writing poems, stories, songs and dialogues, will come in handy. In this article, you will be introduced to consonance, its meaning, definition and usage. Also, learn how to apply it by going through the various examples given in the article.

Table of Contents

What is Consonance? – Meaning and Definition

The term, ‘consonance’ refers to the use of words with similar consonant sounds in a sentence or a particular context. According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, consonance is defined as “the repetition of identical or similar consonants in neighbouring words whose vowel sounds are different”. The Cambridge Dictionary defines consonance as “similarity between consonants, but not between vowels”, and according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, consonance is defined as the “recurrence or repetition of consonants especially at the end of stressed syllables without the similar correspondence of vowels“.

How to Use Consonance in a Sentence?

You have already learnt that consonance is the recurrence of similar consonant sounds in a sentence or in a particular piece of writing. You might be thinking that alliteration is also the repetition of similar consonant sounds or similar vowel sounds. Yes it is but there is a slight difference. The difference between the two is that alliteration refers to the repetition of similar sounds only in the beginning of words. On the other hand, consonance includes the recurrence of consonant sounds in the beginning, middle or end of multiple words.

Applying consonance in a sentence, therefore, does not take so much effort as alliteration does. It need not necessarily occur in every other word or in every sentence. It is employed only to create a temporary effect that disappears as soon as the words or lines are read. If you want to create a long-lasting effect, you should employ rhyme.

How is Consonance Different from Assonance?

Given below is a table with the differences between the use of consonance and assonance for your better understanding.

Consonance

Assonance

  • Repetition of consonant sounds.
  • Recurrence of vowel sounds.
  • For example:
    • The girl’s mother gave her a pink feather.
  • For example:
    • We own a boat.

Examples of Sentences with Consonance

Taking a look at a few examples will help you have a clearer idea of how consonance can be used in sentences.

Examples of Consonance in Literature

Example 1:

“He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.” (“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ by Robert Frost)

Example 2:

“I have seen them riding seaward on the waves

Combing the white hair of the waves blown back

When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea

By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown

Till human voices wake us, and we drown.” (‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ by T. S. Eliot)

Example 3:

“Increasing store with loss and loss with store;

When I have seen such interchange of state,

Or state itself confounded to decay” (‘Sonnet 64: When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d’ by William Shakespeare)

Example 4:

“A little more than kin, and less than kind.” (‘Hamlet’ by William Shakespeare)

Example 5:

Fair is foul and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air.” (‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare)

Examples of Consonance in Movies and Songs

Example 1:

“It means no worries

For the rest of your days

It’s our problem-free philosophy

Hakuna Matata!

Why, when he was a young warthog

When I was a young wart-hoooog!

Very nice!” (‘Hakuna Matata’, a song from the movie, ‘The Lion King’)

Example 2:

“Every turn I take

Every trail I track

Every path I make

Every road leads back

To the place I know where I cannot go

Where I long to be” (‘How Far I’ll Go’, a song from the movie, ‘Moana’)

Example 3:

Moana: “I am Moana of Motunui. You will board my boat, sail across the sea, and restore the heart of Te Fiti” (Dialogue from the movie, ‘Moana’)

Example 4:

“The only way to get what you want in this world is through hard work” (Dialogue from ‘The Princess and the Frog’)

Example 5:

“For the first time in forever

There’ll be magic, there’ll be fun

For the first time in forever

I could be noticed by someone” (‘For the First Time in Forever’, a song from the movie, ‘Frozen’)

Check Your Understanding of Consonance

Go through the following sentences and identify the words that contribute to the effect of consonance.

1. He showed me a photo of his fighter fish.

2. “I’m a damsel, I’m in distress, I can handle this. Have a nice day”

3. She helped me put together a paper mache.

4. Can we burst crackers?

5. “Life’s a little bit messy. We all make mistakes. No matter what type of animal you are, change starts with you.”

6. I made mushroom manchurian for my mother.

7. “You see, when the world turns upside down, the best thing is to turn right along with it.”

8. “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think”

9. “Goodbye may seem forever, farewell is like the end. But in my heart’s a memory, and there you’ll always be”

10. “I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine and he shall be my Squishy”

Now, check the answers given below to see if you got all of it right.

1. He showed me a photo of his fighter fish.

Word pairs – he, his / photo, fighter, fish / showed, fish

2. “I’m a damsel, I’m in distress, I can handle this. Have a nice day”

Word pairs – I’m, damsel, I’m / handle, have / damsel, distress, day

3. She helped me put together a paper mache.

Word pairs – she, mache / put, paper / me, mache

4. Can we burst crackers?

Word pairs – can, crackers

5. “Life’s a little bit messy. We all make mistakes. No matter what type of animal you are, change starts with you.”

Word pairs – Life’s, little, animal / messy, make, mistakes, matter, animal / we, what, with

6. I made mushroom manchurian for my mother.

Word pairs – made, mushroom, manchurian, my, mother

7. “You see, when the world turns upside down, the best thing is to turn right along with it.”

Word pairs – see, turns, upside, best / when, world, with / turns, best, to, turn, it, right

8. “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think”

Word pairs – braver, believe / stronger, seem, smarter / than, than

9. “Goodbye may seem forever, farewell is like the end. But in my heart’s a memory, and there you’ll always be”

Word pairs – goodbye, end, and / may, seem, my, memory / forever, farewell

10. “I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine and he shall be my Squishy”

Word pairs – shall, Squishy / him, he / mine, my

Frequently Asked Questions on Consonance

What is consonance?

Consonance can be said to be the use of words with similar consonant sounds in a sentence.

What is the definition of consonance?

The term, ‘consonance’ refers to the use of words with similar consonant sounds in a sentence or a particular context. According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, consonance is defined as “the repetition of identical or similar consonants in neighbouring words whose vowel sounds are different”. The Cambridge Dictionary defines consonance as “similarity between consonants, but not between vowels”, and according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, consonance is defined as the “recurrence or repetition of consonants especially at the end of stressed syllables without the similar correspondence of vowels“.

What is the difference between consonance and assonance?

The main difference between consonance and assonance is that consonance refers to the recurrence of consonant sounds in the beginning, middle or end of words, and assonance refers to the recurrence of vowel sounds and syllables in the beginning, middle or end of words in a particular context.

Give some examples of the use of consonance in literature.

Here are a few examples to show you the use of consonance in literature.

  • “He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.”

  • “A little more than kin, and less than kind.”

“Increasing store with loss and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay”

Give some examples of the use of consonance in movies and songs.

Here are a few examples to show you how consonance is used in movies and songs.

  • For the first time in forever

There’ll be magic, there’ll be fun
For the first time in forever
I could be noticed by someone”

  • “I am Moana of Motunui. You will board my boat, sail across the sea, and restore the heart of Te Fiti”
  • “It means no worries

For the rest of your days
It’s our problem-free philosophy
Hakuna Matata!
Why, when he was a young warthog
When I was a young wart-hoooog!
Very nice!”

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