General Question

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

4 Answers

cookieman's avatar

I am not clicking your link, possible spammer-person-you, HOWEVER, I believe the structure is…

Three sets of four lines. Ten syllables per line. Every other line rhymes.

Then, a final set of two lines, still ten syllables each, and both lines rhyme.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

“Iamb” describes the type of foot used – an unstressed syllable followed by one that’s stressed (ex-IST; be-LONG, a-BOVE; you KNOW; she LOVES). “Penameter” indicates a line of five feet.

Although there are rhythmic variations in its usage, standard iambic pentameter is:
da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM.

An example from Twelfth Night: “If music be the food of love, play on.”

Soubresaut's avatar

If you want us to look at your sonnet specifically you can copy-paste the text and post it on this thread. I don’t think anyone will click on an unknown link.

Notice how in the example @Love_my_doggie gave, the rhythm comes naturally from the words themselves. “Music” is placed so that its stressed syllable is on a “DUM.” Small words like “the” and “of” are placed in “da” positions, because we don’t usually stress those words in natural speech, so we get “the food of love,” “da DUM da DUM.” Etc. (If it helps, note, that it’s not just about the length of “the” and “of”—“be” is small, too, yet it is naturally stressed in that sentence, because it carries more of the meaning of the sentence. “The” and “of” are small words in terms of meaning; they’re set-up words for words with more meaning, like “food” and “love.” If that doesn’t help, then just ignore it.) And then notice, too, how the line begins with “If”—it can’t begin with “music,” “DUM da.” But when you put the two words together, “if music” makes a “da DUM da” pattern.

One thing you can do: If you find places where your poem’s meter is breaking down, look at the words and phrases in those places. In multisyllabic words, where is the stress naturally? That is, when you say the word on its own, what is its stress pattern? With monosyllabic words, where are they placed on the line? Are the ones with “more meaning” on the “DUM” while the words with “less meaning,” the “set-up” words, are on the “da”? If you have two single-syllable words with “more meaning” right next to each other, they’ll probably both want to be stressed, and you’ll have a “DUM DUM.” If you have two single-syllable words with “less meaning” right next to each other, they’ll probably want to be said quickly in a “da da” pattern. Do you have a phrase with an alternating stress pattern, but it’s “DUM da DUM da” (trochaic) instead of iambic? See if you can place it somewhere that it’s after an unstressed syllable (like how “music” follows “if”), and voila! It’s suddenly iambic.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Guys, it’s just a Google Docs link.

@Jas01267 The answer to your question is that some of your sonnet is in iambic pentameter, but not all of it. To be in iambic pentameter, two things must be true. First, all lines must have exactly 10 syllables. Second, the pattern of syllables must be unstressed-stressed-unstressed-stressed-unstressed-stressed-unstressed-stressed-unstressed-stressed. This is because an iamb is two syllables long, with the first syllable being unstressed and the second syllable being stressed.

Now, let’s look at your sonnet. I will use a tilde (~) to represent an unstressed syllable and a slash (/) to represent a stressed syllable. The pattern in your poem is this:

~/~/~/~/~/ (10 syllables, correct pattern)
~/~/~/~/~/ (10 syllables, correct pattern)
~/~/~/~/~/ (10 syllables, correct pattern)
~/~/~~/~/~/ (11 syllables, incorrect pattern)

/~~/~/~/~/ (10 syllables, incorrect pattern)
/~/~/~/~/~ (10 syllables, incorrect pattern)
~/~~/~~/~/ (10 syllables, incorrect pattern)
~/~/~/~//~ (10 syllables, incorrect pattern)

~/~/~/~/~/ (10 syllables, correct pattern)
~/~~/~/~// (10 syllables, incorrect pattern)
/~~/~~/~~/ (10 syllables, incorrect pattern)
~/~~/~~/~/ (10 syllables, incorrect pattern)

~/~/~~/~/~/ (11 syllables, incorrect pattern)
~/~/~/~/~/ (10 syllables, correct pattern)

The first line that has a problem is “I’m always dreaming about the gorgeous cry.” This line has too many syllables and the wrong pattern. But we could change it to “I’m always dreaming of your gorgeous cry.” This has the right number of syllables and the correct pattern.

As has already been mentioned, all you need to do is think about the natural rhythm of the words. Keep in mind, though, that you can sometimes affect the way people read things by using punctuation or italics. People naturally stress italicized words even if they wouldn’t otherwise stress them (in fact, that’s one of the main uses of italics—to indicate how a particular sentence is meant to be emphasized).

Take a line like “You are more astute and captivating.” Right now, the pattern is /~/~/~/~/~ (the reverse of what it should be). We might change it to “You’re captivating and much more astute,” but most people would probably read this as ~/~/~~/~~/. Italicize the “and,” however, and we get “You’re captivating and much more astute.” This gives us the ~/~/~/~/~/ pattern that we want.

Best of luck!

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther