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What Is Rhyme Scheme, Types, Benefits, and Examples

What Is Rhyme Scheme, Types, Benefits, and Examples

In simple words, the Rhyme Scheme means the composition, set up or arrangement of rhymes in a poetic form of expression or a poem. It can be defined as a particular pattern of rhymes at the end of each line of a poem.

Rhyme Scheme Definition

Rhyme scheme meaning refers to a sound-related pattern, which is repeated at the conclusion of a stanza of a poem. Usually, the same letter is repeated to bind the stanzas. This is also known as Formal Verse. This is a regular pattern of rhyme at the end of a poem.

Types of Rhyme Scheme

The rhyme schemes have some categories or forms. They are structured in a particular way that distinguishes them from other types of poetry. Language as an art is expressed through the different forms of rhyme schemes.

This form of poetic art had been continuing for centuries together. You will find the dominance of vowel sounds in rhyme schemes. The rhyme schemes are included in almost all forms of English poetry.

You can find it in nursery songs, ballads, limericks, sonnets, and almost all other poetic forms in English.

In poetry, the following types of rhyme schemes are getting used for centuries together:

  1. ABAB
  2. ABCB
  3. AABBA
  4. AABB

They can be explained in the following manner: 

1. ABAB:

This particular rhyme scheme was popularized greatly by William Shakespeare.

Literary works, including sonnets and ballads using the ABAB pattern, show the following linguistic traits:

  • Extensively used in 14 poems and sonnets, particularly the Shakespearean Sonnets.
  • This rhyme scheme denotes the first and third lines of a stanza, or the “A”s, which match or rhyme with each other.
  • The second line rhymes with the fourth line and must match.

This means the “B”s rhyme must be kept together.

2. ABCB:

This is a variation on the ABAB but with some little differences. It is marked by the following literary nuances:

The first and third lines do not necessarily have a rhyme.

The second line must match or rhyme with the fourth line.


This type usually is found in limericks and couplets. The successive lines of the poem or limerick must match or rhyme with the next lines in a rhyming style.

This type has the following features:

  • Used in a single stanza usually comprising five lines
  • A Rhyme is used in the first, second, and fifth lines
  • A rhyme is used in the third and fourth lines

4. AABB:

The lines in a poem follow the use of the same letter rhyme with each other. It shows the following features:

  • The first and third lines may match or rhyme with each other.
  • This means the element of “A”s must be there.
  • In a similar way, the second line must match or rhyme with the fourth line.

In other words, the “B”s rhyme must be put together.

What are the benefits of rhyme schemes?

The verses with rhyme schemes are very important as far as English literature is concerned. This has enriched English poetry over the centuries.

One of the reasons for this poetic enrichment is the fact that the rhyme schemes had been used by almost all poets for centuries together. It has given a distinctive feature to the overall poetry section of English literature.

Usually, the poems, limericks, and nursery rhymes with rhyme schemes proved to be enjoyable. They can be easily converted into jingles and songs. Besides, there are rhymes made with prescribed schemes that are storytelling.

Even the ballads created in praise of heroes and historical figures also appeared rhythmic with rhyme schemes.

Thus, rhyme schemes have a large number of benefits.

We are listing below some of them:

Ideal for Little Children to Widen their Mental Horizons:

They are brain teasers for little children. Nursery rhymes can be given as an example. Little children can learn the English language better with the help of such rhymes. This is good for their memory power. You can understand this by the fact that the rhymes with schemes that you learnt in nursery school or play school, still remain fresh in your memory.

Rhyme Schemes Make Ballads and Sonnets Sound Better:

Over the centuries, a large number of ballads and sonnets have been created following this particular literary genre. No wonder, they have become an integral part of such storytelling and meaningful sonnets. This trend had been continuing since time immemorial by the titans of English literature.

Cognitive Development of English Language:

The rhyme scheme added a distinguishing feature to English literature. In the realm of poems, they made their separate mark as a unique way of expression. In weaving the poems blended with a theme, the rhyme with schemes played a pivotal role. 

Rhyme Scheme Examples

We find a large number of examples of rhyme schemes in different nursery rhymes and playschool limericks. If you are wondering what is a rhyming scheme, the following paragraphs will help.

These rhymes have been in use in English schools for decades together.

We can give the following example of a rhyme scheme for you:

A snow-white cat.

Sat upon a mat.

Then came a rat.

The cat hit it with a bat.

In this short poem, we find a particular arrangement of words to rhyme at the end. This can be given to you as an example.

What is the rhyme scheme in literature?

In English literature, the poetry section or lyrical rendition of a particular theme occupies a central position. In the poetry section, the rhymes are most prominently included. Whether it is a ballad or a storytelling piece, you will find the poem woven in a rhyme scheme.

Rhyme schemes for poems make them more expressive and musical in nature.

A poem with rhyme scheme – Example

I live in a little house,

It’s red in colour,

There’s no mouse,

But I have a vase—with lots of flowers.

Everyone is happy and refreshed,

Calm, cool, and blessed.

My house is small,

It’s inevitable for all.

Everyone loves my house,

There’s no cat or a mouse.

In the above poem (rhyme), you can see a special arrangement of words that phonetically sound the same in the end. Not necessarily, you should have similar words in the end that sound the same but there should be a rhythm.

For example; words like house and colour don’t match, but words like mouse and flowers in the subsequent lines do match.

If you follow the rhyming scheme in the first paragraph, the last word of the first sentence matches the last word of the third sentence. Similarly, the last word of the second sentence does match the last word of the fourth sentence.   

In literature, the rhyme scheme essentially includes due to the following two reasons:

Methodical arrangement of lyrical lines following the guidelines of rhyme schemes. The inclusion of the rhyme schemes makes the poetic pieces vibrant and often in unison with the next stanza and line.

The sonnets become more meaningful with the help of their composition in rhyme schemes. 

What is the rhyme scheme of the poem?

In a poem, the lines, couplets and stanzas must follow a lyrical style to make them attractive and pleasant to listen to and recite.

You can also turn a poem into a lively song. But this conversion will not be easily possible unless it is composed using the rhyme scheme.

You can know the importance of rhyme scheme in a poem due to the following way:

Lyrics and stanzas are arranged in a systematic way to make them nicely presented.

Poems with rhyme schemes are easily identified thus distinguishing them as a separate poetic genre.

Often the poems adhering to the rhyme scheme sound like songs.

The rhyme scheme in a poem essentially includes the following system:

  • ABAB
  • ABCB
  • AABB

The words of a poem must follow the above pattern to rhyme perfectly. In other words, the above is followed while creating a poem to give the same sound at the end of the line.

The poem rhyme schemes can assume a particular lyrical pattern ending with the same sound.

In Conclusion

Rhyme schemes have been predominant in the poetry section of English literature for the last 600 or more years.

In the Italian poetry section, rhyme schemes have been used for hundreds of years.

Both in the Shakespearean English sonnets and Italian sonnets, we find a use of rhyme schemes in a dominant way.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How does rhyme scheme affect a poem?

A rhyme scheme beautifies a poem or sonnet. It makes the poetic pieces including couplets, nursery rhymes, playschool songs and ballads more meaningful.

The importance of the rhyme scheme can be understood by the fact that it is being used by both children and grown-up people.

How to identify rhyme schemes?

The rhyme scheme in a poem can be identified by its different literary clauses including the types like ABAB, ABCB, AABBA and AABB.

In other words, you can identify the rhyme schemes through the use of word labelling. You can also term it as a pairing of exact words to add a rhythmic touch to the poem.

How to do a rhyme scheme?

You can do this by labelling or pairing the set scheme like ABAB, ABCB, AABBA, and AABB. The best way to do this is to follow the set pattern of the scheme in your poetry.

What is the rhyme scheme of America?

In America, English poets use the rhyme scheme but with little variation. To exemplify, a 14-line sonnet composed by Claude McKay is positioned in this style (which is different from the British system): ABABABABABABCC rhyme scheme.

Does an ode have a rhyme scheme?

Usually, the rule of rhyme scheme is not followed now in the case of Odes. A large number of Odes, however, are quite rhyming but they don’t strictly follow the rule of ABAB, ABCB, AABBA and AABB. Thus, the Odes don’t always follow this rhyme scheme.

What is a poem without a rhyme scheme called?

A poem or poetic piece without a rhyme scheme is known as Free verse. It is known as an open form of poetry which is comparatively less lyrical and musical in nature.

What is the poem’s rhyme scheme apex?

This means word position in a poem or discreet positioning of words in a poem is done in such a way, maintaining the rules of rhyme schemes to set the pace of the poem fast. The words are positioned in such a way that they can construe the meaning in a cryptic way

What do you think?

Written by Akshaya


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