By Joanna Thornborrow;
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Additional info for Patterns in language : an introduction to language and literary style
This means that we can call a word a noun, or a verb, or an adjective, but it is the position it occupies in the sentence which really counts. Another extract from the poem by e. e. cummings we quoted from above illustrates how writers exploit these categories. What grammatical categories do you think the words always and never belong to in these lines? e. they provide further information about the time something happens. In these lines however they are used where you would expect to find an adjective of some kind, as in less complicated, or less wonderful.
To return to the line of poetry in question, if you read it aloud without thinking too hard about the meaning, you will probably find you have read it in the stresses marked in Sound and metre in poetry 29 20a because of the way it is constructed. A ten-syllable line like this, with stress on alternate syllables and which starts with an unstressed syllable, is a very specific and popular form in English poetry known as iambic pentametre. Iambic refers to the pattern of unstressed and stressed syllables: an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one is an iamb.
Different poets have different reasons; we have identified some possible reasons here, you may think of others that have not occurred to us. The reasons given here will not all apply to every poem you come across, but they can give you an idea of the range of effects sound and metre can have. Reasons for poets using sound and metrical patterning include: • for aesthetic pleasure—sound and metrical patterning are fundamentally pleasing, in the way that music is; most people enjoy rhythms and repeated sounds.