Alliteration in Business Writing

by Craig Shrives

The Benefits of Using Alliteration

Using alliteration is a creative-writing technique that can make your business correspondence more interesting to read.

What Is Alliteration?

Alliteration is the repetition of the same letter (or sound) at the start of nearby words (e.g., Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper). Used occasionally (and no more than once in any business document), alliteration can:
  • Be memorable.
  • Make an impact.
  • Make you look confident.
  • Be used for emphasis.
If you use alliteration in a business document, your readers will spot it, and all these benefits will kick in. The risks of looking disrespectful or flippant with alliteration are relatively low compared to the other creative techniques, provided you only do it once.

Examples of Alliteration

Here are some examples of alliteration:
"Smile. Speak. Serve."
(Guidelines for shop assistants)
"Veni, vidi, Visa" (I came, I saw, I spent)
(Wordplay on Julius Caesar's "Veni, vidi, vici" I came, I saw, I conquered.)

An Example of Alliteration in Business Writing

Here is a business-style example:
"The second proposed solution was commercially astute, cost effective, and convincing."

Rhythm

You can achieve the same benefits (i.e., making your writing memorable, impactful, etc.) with the rhythm of your words. Rhythm is a musical quality produced by the repetition of stressed and unstressed syllables. You'll know rhythm when you hear it, and you'll instinctively be able to do it if you try. Look at the last two sentences in this example:
"Level crossings protect you from one of the busiest rail networks in the world. They're not time wasters. They're life savers."
(Network Rail safety advert)
The use of rhythm in this advert makes it far more memorable. And this is a technique you can employ too.

Format, Word Choice, and Grammar

The effectiveness of your document will also be determined by the following:
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