How to Write Funny Poetry – Chapter 2 – How to Rhyme

A rhyme is when two words end with the same sound. For example, moon rhymes with spoon because they both end with an oon sound. Wizard rhymes with lizard because they both end with an izard sound. In this chapter, I will show you how to find words that rhyme and what to do when you can’t find a good rhyme.

Finding Rhymes

An easy way to find rhymes is in your head. First figure out what sound a word ends with. If the word is cat, the sound it ends with is “at”. Once you know what sound a word ends with, try adding new beginnings to the word. For example, how many words can you think of at end with the sound “at”?

Try thinking of every letter in the alphabet, and adding “at” to it. You will come up with a list that includes batdatfatgathatjat, and so on. Some of these aren’t real words (such as “dat”, “gat” and “jat”), but many of them are, including “fat”, “hat,” and “mat.”

Another way to find words that rhyme is with a rhyming dictionary, as I mentioned in Chapter 1. In your rhyming dictionary, you would look up “at”, and it would give you a complete list of all words that end with the “at” sound.

Does it Sound the Same?

When you select a rhyme, be careful to make sure that the words sound the same. For example, if you wanted to rhyme the word rocket, you might rhyme it with pocket or socket, because these sound the same. On the other hand, you might think that it rhymes with chocolate. But notice that they don’t end with the same sound. Rocket sounds like “rock it”, but chocolate sounds like “chock lit”. As you can see, these don’t end with exactly the same sound, so they don’t rhyme.

Words that almost sound the same are sometimes known as “slant rhymes”. I will talk about this more in Chapter 8. For now, though, always try to make sure your rhyming words end in exactly the same sound. If you are not sure if two words rhyme, think about the last sound of each word and ask yourself if they sound exactly the same. If they do, then the words rhyme. If the last sound is close, but even just a little different, the words do not rhyme.

Which Words Should You Rhyme?

In rhyming poems, you usually only need to rhyme the last word of each line. In other words, you don’t need to make as many rhymes as possible. Don’t write the fat cat with thehat sat with the bat on the mat and that was that. Instead try rhyming just the last word of each line, like this:

My family has a cat.
He’s really, really fat.
He sat on daddy’s hat.
Now daddy’s hat is flat.

In fact, you don’t even have to rhyme the last word of every line. The easiest way to write a rhyming poem is to rhyme the last word of every other line, like this:

Hercules avoided
baths and showers all week long.
Though it left him awfully dirty,
no one ever smelled so strong!

In the poem above, only the words long and strong are rhymed. So if you can think up just a few words that rhyme, you can write your own rhyming poetry.

There are other ways to rhyme besides the ones I’ve shown so far. We will get to each of these later in the book, in Chapter 8. But you don’t need to know advanced rhyming to write funny poems. As long as you can tell if two words sound the same, you can make up rhymes and you can write your own rhyming funny poems.

Finish This Poem

Now it’s time to make up some rhymes of your own. I will give you several verses and your job will be to finish the poem by writing the last line and making sure it rhymes with the second line.

Let’s start with an example. Look at this poem:

Whenever I play baseball
I hit a foul ball.
I think that maybe I should…

To finish this poem, first think of as many words as you can that rhyme with ball, because ball is the last word of the second line. I can think of allcallmall, and several others. So here are some different ways to end this poem:

I think that maybe I should
never play this game at all.

I think that maybe I should
give the Yankees’ coach a call.

I think that maybe I should
just go shopping at the mall.

Okay, now it’s your turn. Try to complete each of the following verses by finding the words that rhyme with the last word of the second line. In the first poem, you’ll want to think of as many words as you can that rhyme with “ants”.

Our picnic was ruined
by too many ants.
At least I am grateful…

My brother’s a genius,
as smart as they come.
Without his computer though…

Tomorrow we’re having a test
at the beginning of class.
I didn’t remember to study…

I dreamed I was riding a zebra
with curly pink hair on his head.
And when I woke up in the morning…

If I had a dollar
I know what I’d do.
I’d go the mall and…

All done? How did you do? Were you able to think of an ending for each poem? Did you think of more than one ending for any of the poems? Congratulations! You have just finished your first five poems!

What If You Can’t Find a Word that Rhymes?

Sometimes you will be in the middle of writing a poem and you’ll find that you can’t think of a rhyme. What should you do? For example, imagine, one day you are writing a poem and you start writing:

Roses are red.
Violets are purple.

Now you are scratching your head trying to think of a word that rhymes with “purple”, but you can’t find one because there isn’t one. Nothing rhymes with “purple”! What should you do? One thing you can do is choose a different color. For example, you could change it to “violets are blue”, because lots of words rhyme with “blue”. So, even though violets are really purple and not blue, you might say this instead:

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.

In other words, if you write a line but then can’t find a word to complete your rhyme, try changing the last word to something that’s easier to rhyme. “Purple” is impossible to rhyme, but “blue” is easy to rhyme.

Another way to solve this problem is to completely change the line to something else. Here are several poems where I changed the second line to something completely different to make it easier to rhyme the last line.

Roses are red.
I’m sure that they’re blushing.
But soon as they’re dead,
they’re just good for flushing.

Roses are red,
but sometimes they’re yellow,
and some people give you them
just to say “hello”.

Roses are red.
Carnations are pink.
They frequently smell good
but sometimes they stink.

So you see, if you can’t think of a good rhyme, don’t let that stop you. Instead of giving up because you can’t find a rhyme, just change the word you are trying to rhyme, or change the entire line until you come up with something that is easier to rhyme.

Now You Know How to Rhyme

Knowing how and when to rhyme is the most important skill you need when it comes to writing funny poems. Now that you know how to find words that rhyme, and you know when to rhyme them, you are well on your way to becoming a poet.

So far you have completed a few poems that I started for you, but you haven’t written any poems of your own yet. Before you can write a poem, you have to decide what to write about. In Chapter 3, Choosing a Topic, you will learn how to find ideas for your poems and how to get them started.

Kenn Nesbitt
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