Different Types of Rhyme

“Oh! What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

We know the famous line from Walter Scott’s poem, “Marmion.” We also understand the words make a rhyme. But what type of rhyme is it?

That’s what we’ll explain during this Mometrix video about rhyme. There are different types of rhyme and how rhyme appears in literature and song. We’ll provide an overview of some of the most standard forms of rhyme and show you examples. So let’s start here. What is rhyme?

Simply put, rhyme occurs when two words sound alike. Moon and Toon. Hat and bat. Bowl and mole. All of those are examples of words that have an ending or a sound that corresponds with each other. Rhyme plays a critical role in poetry. Why? Let’s explore.

Rhyme gives poetry rhythm, patterns that make the words and their meaning easy to remember. Children’s poems are a perfect example of how rhyme works by repeating patterns to facilitate learning. Here’s an example:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star. How I wonder what you are.

What kind of rhyme is this? It’s an “end rhyme,” and this leads us into our discussions of the different types of rhyme.

There are a number of different types of rhymes.

The end rhyme may be the most common. It occurs when words rhyme at the end of two or more successive lines. Like this:

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight.

That’s easy enough to understand. Lots of popular songs use this method, like “To make you feel my love” by Bob Dylan.

When the rain is blowing in your face.
And the whole world is on your case.
I will offer you a warm embrace.
To make you feel my love.

Internal rhymes are more complicated. Internal rhymes can rhyme in the same line, a separate line, or in the middle and end of a line. Let’s take a look at each example. Here’s an example of internal rhyme on the same line.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I ponder, weak and weary,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping

Here’s an example of internal rhyme on a separate line, used in the Beatle’s song, “Hey Jude.”

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better

Let’s look at internal rhyme in the middle and end of a line.

The snowflakes are dancing, floating, and falling.
The church bells are calling, but I will not go.

So that’s internal rhyme, when the words can rhyme in various parts of a sentence.

Here’s one that’s even more complicated — the eye rhyme.

Eye rhymes don’t rhyme in the traditional sense because the words don’t sound the same. But, the words “look” the same. This line from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” is frequently cited as an example of an eye rhyme due to the visual connection of “flies” and “enemies.”

“The great man down, you mark his favorite flies,
The poor advanced makes friends of enemies.”

Rhymes can also be masculine or feminine. What’s the difference?

To understand masculine rhymes, you have to understand the emphasis on words, called stress. Think of it this way. When you put emphasis on a syllable, that part of the word become stressed. In “because,” the second syllable, CAUSE, is stressed. Same thing for “overdue.” The third syllable, “DUE,” is stressed. Say it out loud and you’ll see how it works.

So a masculine rhyme is one in which the rhyme is on the final syllable of a word, and the word is stressed. Note that single-syllable words, like dance and arm, are often stressed.

Emily Dickinson used this technique in her poem, “After great pain, a formal feeling comes.”

“This is the Hour of Lead –
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow
First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go”

Rhymes can also be feminine, which are two-syllable rhymes in which the last syllable is not stressed.

Sir Phillip Sydney used the feminine technique when he wrote “Desire.”

Within myself to seek my only hire,
Desiring naught but how to kill desire.

That’s a little about masculine and feminine rhymes. Let’s finish with rhyme patterns.

There are 15 different rhyme patterns. Rhyme patterns, or schemes, govern a poem’s meter, phrasing, and rhythm. It gives a poem its pace and lyrical quality akin to music. We won’t go over all of the rhyme patterns in this video, but we’ll focus on some of the more popular patterns.

In ABAB patterns, the first and third lines and second and fourth lines rhyme. Here’s an example from Robert Frost and his poem, “Neither out far nor in deep.”

‘The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.

You can see the first and third lines, “sand and land,” and the second and fourth lines, “way and day,” rhyme.

In AABB patterns, called “rhyming couplets” the first two ‘A’ lines rhyme, and then the second two ‘B’ lines follow suit. Shakespeare’s “Songs of the Witches,” from Macbeth, uses this method.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;

As you can see, the first and second lines rhyme, as do the third and fourth.

Let’s take a look at one more.

The AAAA poem structure, called a monorhyme, results in the last word of every line containing a similar rhyme. A single passage, one stanza, or an entire poem can be written in the monorhyme form. Let’s take a look at Marie Summers’ poem “Night Storm”

It came in a winter’s night,
a fierce cold with quite a bite.
Frosted wind with all its might
sent ice and snow an invite
to layer earth in pure white.

Those are just a few of the rhyming patterns that authors use to create these wonderful works.

So that’s our look at rhyme, a complicated subject that gives life to many different types of written art, but especially poetry.

I hope this overview was helpful.

See you guys next time!



by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: September 6, 2021