Rhyming


Hey, this is Mr. Sato. Let’s talk about rhyming. These days, you can easily
find rhymes online. Here are links to rhymezone.com
and wikirhymer.com. There you go. Is that all there is to say about rhymes?
Well, obviously not. There are different kinds of rhymes and different rhymes have different
effects. There are different rhyme schemes and ways you should and shouldn’t rhyme. Here’s what you’re about to learn: The basic kind of rhyme is called a perfect
rhyme, which is two words that end with the same sounds, beginning with
the last accented syllable. Example: “three” and “sea,”” “Setting” and “forgetting,” or “terrible” and “wearable.” Notice
how the rhymes begin with the last accented syllable? Like
“SET-ting” and “for-GET-ing” and “TER-rible” and “WEAR-able.” If you don’t do that, you’ll
end up with words that don’t actually rhyme, like
“setting” and “dancing.” Those words don’t rhyme because the last accented syllable is “SET” not “ING.” So “dancing” doesn’t rhyme and
“for-GET-ting does.” It also might help to keep in mind
that the farther from the end of the word that last
accented syllable is, the harder it is to find a good rhyme. For example, don’t try to end a line
with “federal” or “wonderful” if you need it to rhyme. So, for a perfect rhyme, the words must
sound the same beginning with the last accented syllable. But if you really, really needed something
that rhymed with “wonderful,” you could try a near rhyme. These are sometimes also called “half rhymes” or “slant rhymes.” Near rhymes are words that sound almost
the same, but not exactly the same. For example, I looked up “wonderful” at wikirhymes and found that
“invulnerable” is pretty close. Wonderful, invulnerable. They almost rhyme.
The rhythm is the same and the vowel sounds are the same.
So that’s a near rhyme. There are times when a near rhyme is actually preferable to a perfect rhyme. Like if you’re writing a song,
you might not want it to sound super-rhymey. It can
come off as obvious and clumsy, like rhyming “love” with “dove,”
especially if you’re writing in couplets. That’s two consecutive lines
that rhyme, like these. Look at these lines from an old Neil Diamond
song. “I am I said…to no one there. And no one heard at all, not even the chair.”
C’mon, really? He really could have used a good near-rhyme here. But that’s a question of taste. If you’re writing something for school, ask the teacher what he or she
thinks about near rhymes. What Neil Diamond eventually
settled on (“not even the chair”) is what’s called a forced rhyme. In this particular line you can clearly
see the meaning of the line was forced to fit the rhyme. It’s obvious that he used the
word “chair” not because it’s what he wanted to say, but because it rhymed with “there.”
So, the challenge is to not only rhyme, but to sound natural while doing it, which is
actually a lot harder than it may sound. The easiest words to rhyme are, or were at
one time, called masculine rhymes. The accented syllable in these is
the last syllable. “Arrest” and “test.” Words that rhymed at a syllable other than
the last one, like “basket” and “casket,” were called feminine rhymes.
I guess the idea is that a word that emphasizes the last syllable (dog-fog) is stronger than one that rhymes
earlier (kitten-mitten). It’s terminology that belongs to
a more sexist time, but I don’t know of any replacement for this distinction. The reason I bring it up at all
is because feminine rhymes are great for humorous poems. There’s something funnier about a feminine
rhyme. Maybe because they’re a little more musical. For example, here’s a link
to a rhymed narrative poem I wrote for fun when I was a college kid
a million years ago. “Waffles” and “awful” sound a little silly,
right? It’s humorous, which fits the poem. “Cakes” and “mistakes” wouldn’t
sound particularly funny. So, if you’re trying to write a funny poem, try to get some feminine rhymes in there. They’re a little harder to do, but they have a tone that’s a little lighter, a little goofier. But if you’re writing a funny poem, a really
good rhyme to try is the mosaic rhyme. That’s when you rhyme a multisyllabic word with two
or more small words, like “They put all the trees in a tree museum, and charged people
a dollar and a half to see ’em.” See there, “museum” is a longer, three syllable word
and Joni Mitchell rhymed it with a three word phrase, “to see ’em.” I tried to do the same thing in “Gertrude” when I rhymed “blender” with “end ‘er”
and “origin” with “porridge in.” OK, now rhyme schemes are the pattern
in which the words rhyme. Like limericks. Thheir rhyme scheme is
A A B B A. Here’s an old one I like. You fans of
Albert Einstein will like this, too. There was a young lady named Bright.
Who traveled much faster than light She set out one day
In a relative way And returned the previous night. Do you see how the rhymes marked with “A”
all rhyme–Bright, light, night–and the two rhymes marked with a “B” rhyme– day, way? So we say the rhyme scheme is A A B B A. Combine with that distinctive rhythm,
and you have a limerick. The most common rhyme scheme
is the use of couplets. As I said a minute ago, that’s
two consecutive lines– meaning one line right after another–
that rhyme, like in these lines from Romeo and Juliet:
“Did my heart love till now? Forswear it sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” Two lines right next to each other
that rhyme: sight, night. So, it’s a couplet, and beautifully done.
But be aware that nursery rhymes generally
rhyme in couplets, too. (Jack and Jill went up the hill, or hickory dickory dock,
the mouse ran up the clock), so your poem could sound kind of
young if your lines are too simple or too short in terms of rhythm.
Shakespeare’s couplet is 5 beats long, to use a term from music. Did MY heart LOVE till NOW?
ForSWEAR it SIGHT! 5 beats. Jack and Jill uses only two:
Jack and JILL went up the HILL. Some of the worst poetry written in my classes is written in two beat couplets. “I had a cat on a mat. He ate a rat.” You know what I’m talking about. So, put in the effort, take the risk. Try to write something really good. If it fails, it’s still better than “I had a cat on a mat.” And the vast majority of English
teachers will grade more generously if they can see some effort. Some rhyming poetry avoids the singsong
rhymeyness by putting the rhymes farther away from each other,
like A B A B. If you want a challenge, try writing a sonnet.
Here’s a link to my video on sonnets. The most well known type rhymes
A B A B – C D C D – E F E F – G G. Or just make up your own rhyme scheme.
It can be whatever you want as long as it sounds good and is
consistent from stanza to stanza. (Stanzas are sort of like
paragraphs for poetry.) But even there, there are exceptions:
the last lines of the sonnet rhyme differently than the rest of the poem. So it’s hard to say there are any
hard-and-fast rules in poetry. Edgar Allan Poe made up this
very complicated rhyme scheme for his famous poem, “The Raven.” And every stanza follows
this rhyme scheme exactly. Once upon a midnight dreary,
while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious
volume of forgotten lore– While I nodded, nearly napping,
suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping,
rapping at my chamber door. “‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping
at my chamber door– Only this and nothing more.” Crazy complicated, right? Here’s a diagram
of the rhyme scheme. When Poe rhymes two words in the same line, like here and here, that’s called an internal rhyme. See how “dreary”
comes in the middle of the line and rhymes with “weary”
at the end of the same line? That’s an internal rhyme. But they don’t have to be as old-fashioned
or as formal as this. Rap music uses a lot of internal rhymes, as well as
near rhymes like these old-school lines from Eric B and Rakim. “My unusual style will confuse you a while
If I were water, I’d flow in the Nile…” (and you’re gonna love this: the next two
lines you have to say it in a NY accent or it doesn’t rhyme) “So many rhymes
you won’t have time to go for yours. Just because of applause I have to pause. Right after tonight is when I prepare
To catch another sucker-duck MC out there. My strategy has to be tragedy, catastrophe
And after this you’ll call me your majesty. There are many examples of internal rhyme
here–I put them in boldface type–but my favorite has got to be those last two lines:
“My strategy has to be tragedy, catastrophe And after this you’ll call me your majesty.”
Hear that? Strategy, has to be, — that’s a mosaic rhyme — tragedy, catastrophe, majesty. I think
the percussive sound of that string of rhymes is impressive. The rhythm is pretty amazing
too: 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, and 1-2-3 / 1-2-3, 1, 2, 1-2-3. But rhythm is
a topic for another time. The last thing is a rhyme that really isn’t
a rhyme. I’m talking about “eye rhymes.” An eye rhyme is two words that look like they
rhyme because of their spelling, but when said out loud, don’t actually sound the same.
Like “love” and “move” or “through” and “cough.” When it comes to rhyming, what matters isn’t
your eyes; it’s your ears that count. If, at this point, you want an assignment,
you can try this. Write a rhymed narrative poem that is at least 24 lines; that could
be 6 four-line stanzas. Once you get going, you’ll find that that isn’t very long. You’re
welcome to make it longer. It’s a narrative poem, so it must tell a story,
not just express your thoughts or feelings. Remember that a story has a clear
beginning, middle, and end, like my poem about Gertrude. It should have regular rhythm and
a consistent rhyme scheme. Your rhythm and rhyme
can be whatever you like, but they should be consistent
throughout the poem. The most important thing, though, seriously,
is to try to have some fun with it. The same assignment can be a joy to one student and
a chore to another. The trick is to approach it with a sense of fun and creativity. Write
the poem that you would enjoy reading. That means it could be about a videogame character, your dog’s daily adventures, it could be goofy and grim, it could even be a little teeny tiny bit beyond what
is usually considered appropriate for school, but check with
your teacher about that. The main thing is that you have some
fun writing it. It might be hard work, but hard work can be fun
if you’re doing something you like. And if it’s fun to write, it’ll be fun to read.

8 thoughts on “Rhyming

  1. Mistersato our school uses your vids! It's the best grammar channel! Pls I also want a shoutout! My core teacher likes your vids too! 😉

  2. Hey! I am in the process of writing my first book, so I wanted to drop in and thank you for taking the time to make these informative videos!

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