Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Look at Alliteration A Cure for the Coming Winter Blues

Winter’s on her way in Wisconsin. The nights start sooner. Viruses cause throats to ache and noses to sniffle. The north wind blows a chill through my windows.

I feel a touch of sadness when I trudge across the cold, gray ground to pack straw around my roses and put them to bed for their seasonal sleep. I need something to lift my spirits.
Sometimes writing is fun in its own sake. Other times, you need something more. A technique in writing, alliteration, is fun and sometimes quite whimsical. It’s an almost guaranteed mood lightener.

My son, home today with the flu, and I have been playing with alliteration, the repetition of the same consonant sound at the beginning of the words in the same sentence or phrase. Alliteration is often sprinkled into the writings of great poets such as:

Henry W. Longfellow in his "The Wreck of Hesperus"
“Then up and spake an old sailor, Had sailed to the Spanish Main,I pray thee, put into yonder port, For I fear a hurricane."

And Robert Frost in “Acquainted With the Night”

"I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry came over houses from another street "

And Shel Silverstein in “Eight Balloons”
"Eight balloons no one was buyin' -They broke loose and away they flew,
Free to float and free to fly
And free to pop where they wanted to. "

But the Alliteration that tickles my son and I is the kind that ties your tongue in knots.

Here are 13 tongue twisters he and I have chosen to share.

1. Betty bought butter but the butter was bitter, so Betty bought better butter to make the bitter butter better.

2. The sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick.

3. I saw Susie sitting in a shoe-shine shop.Where she sits she shines, and where she shines she sits.

4. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
5. A good cook could cook as much cookies as a good cook who could cook cookies

6. Six thick thistle sticks. Six thick thistles stick.

7. A sailor went to sea
To see, what he could see.
And all he could see
Was sea, sea, sea.

8. Sister Suzie sewing shirts for soldiersSuch skill at sewing shirtsOur shy young sister Suzie showsSome soldiers send epistlesAnd say they'd rather sleep in thistlesThan the saucy, soft short-shirts for soldiers Sister Suzie sews

9. Never trouble about trouble until trouble troubles you!
10. Knapsack straps (say this several times)

11. Friendly Frank flips fine flapjacks

12. Moose noshing much mush (say this several times)

13. I wish to wish the wish you wish to wish,
But if you wish the wish the witch wishes,
I won't wish the wish you wish to wish.
We invite you to try some of these. I bet they’ll make you smile. Do you know some tongue twisters you’d like to share?

For more tongue twisters check out:,, (where my son and I found our favorites)


  1. I sure need a pick me up. I live in gloomy Michigan and it's already snowing here. Yuck! Winter is not my favorite season. I loved all the tongue twisters. Very fun. Thanks for stopping by my little place on the web. Happy TT!

  2. We just got our first snow fall too! The tongue twisters are fun, but I dare not try them out this early in the morning :) Happy TT! Happy to hear you liked my Dilbert entry :)

  3. I'm taking the time to tell you that my tongue is tired from trying all of your twisters. Yeah, I just make that one up (smile).

  4. The only one I could say was Peter Piper. Of course I've been practicing that one since I was small. great list

  5. Moses supposes his toeses are roses, but Moses supposes erroneously. Moses he knowses his toeses aren't roses, as Moses supposes his toeses to be.

  6. I used to be pretty good at these when my kids were small and we played with tongue twisters a lot.... Not anymore. LOL

  7. I used to do #4 when I was a kid. Just tried it for the first time in years and I still can - and fast.
    A most rewarding TT :-)

  8. i love these! i'm gonna have some fun with 'em and our currently front toothless 5 year old tonight! lol

  9. I think we get our first official snowfall

    Those are fun! I wouldn't dare try them out

    Happy TT!

  10. What a great list! I love the Moose one.

    My son love the Dr Suess tongue twisters.

    Happy TT!

  11. An aspiring and awesome array of amazing alliterational accumulation! Absolutely astounding!

  12. *is still giggling*

    Tee hee. Thanks!

  13. I just tried all those out loud. Some of them I remember from my childhood, especially Peter Piper and Betty with her butter.

  14. I'm in Texas so it's still 80 degrees outside. I wish we had a snow. Even once a year. But it only snows abotu once every 100 years in the valley.

    I love the tongue twisters! Hope your son feels better soon!

  15. What a fun idea for a T 13.

  16. These are great! I have taken a few of these to use them on a rainy day! I love the picture!

  17. Great tongue twisters! I loved it!

  18. Oh my!! Some of these are tongue tying!

  19. We have not had snow yet here in Missouri but it sure is cold! Thanks for the "pick me up"!

  20. We've had some snow that didn't stick here in Iowa, but it's gotten cold and grey too. I'm ready for spring already!

    As to the tongue Some of those were even challenging to read, let alond trying to SAY them!

    Thanks, Francesca

  21. I have tried No.2 over and over but cannot do it! This is a lot of fun.

  22. How fun! I have heard about the first one in English class and it was even longer than your version.....:)