Rail yard background, from the Library of Congress

Connections

A Hypertext Resource for Literature

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Poetic Lines
[Page 1]

When metrical feet start forming gangs and hanging out together in regular patterns, they tend to become lines. By counting the feet in a line, you can discover the meter by adding the Greek prefix for the number, like so:

  Feet Name

  1    Monometer

  2    Dimeter

  3    Trimeter

  4    Tetrameter

  5    Pentameter

  6    Hexameter (A line of iambic hexameter is an 

          alexandrine)



The number of syllables per line in accentual-syllabic verse will be the number of feet per line times the number of syllables per foot. In other words, iambic pentameter has ten syllables (five iambs times two syllables per iamb), while anapestic tetrameter has twelve (four anapests times three syllables per anapest).
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