Difference between revisions of "Metric feet"

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Latest revision as of 04:57, 22 May 2006

A metric foot is a collection of two, three or four syllables differentiated by which syllables are long and which are short. Ancient Alexandrian scholars named all 28 possible variations.

English poetry concentrates on where the stress lies in a word rather than syllable length. There are six types of metric feet used commonly by English poets.

Two syllable feet

iamb
an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (e.g. instead)
trochee
a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable (e.g. platter)
spondee
two stressed syllables (e.g. football)
pyrrhic
two unstressed syllables (usually not found in one word)

Three syllable feet

anapest
two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable (e.g. intercept)
dactyl
a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables (e.g. laughable)