As I defined in Rhythm in poetry – The Basics, part syllables in English room “stressed” – pronounced larger or with an ext emphasis than others – while other syllables room “unstressed,” meaning they space not emphasized. Understanding this, you can produce patterns of stressed and also unstressed valuation in your creating to produce a valuation in the words. Having rhythms in her poems make them much more fun to recite and easier come remember.

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To do it easy to spot the stressed and unstressed syllables in the instances I gave, I wrote them in UPPERCASE and lowercase letters, like this:

my PUPpy PUNCHED me IN the EYE.

The trouble through using this an approach is the it is aer to create or form this way, and also it renders the city more complicated to read. Also, if you have a city that is currently printed ~ above paper, girlfriend wouldn’t want to have to rewrite the whole thing just to display the rhythm.

Wouldn’t that be much better if can make marks to show the stressed and unstressed syllables? Indeed, there is together a system that is typically used, and it’s called “scansion” (pronounced “scan-shun”). The procedure of marking the stressed and unstressed valuation in a poem is dubbed “scanning.”

Scanning Poetry

The most common method of scanning a city is to location marks above the valuation to show whether they space stressed or unstressed. The mark for a emphasize syllable is a slash (“/”) and the mark for one unstressed valuation is a dash (“-”). Making use of these two straightforward symbols, we deserve to mark present of poetry to see their rhythms, prefer this:

- / - / - / - /My puppy punched me in the eye.Now, simply by looking in ~ the dashes and slashes, you can easily see that this line of poetry has a repeating rhythm. The very first syllable is unstressed, the second is stressed, the 3rd is unstressed, and also so on. In various other words, the line alternates between stressed and also unstressed syllables.

Counting her Feet

In Rhythm in poetry – The Basics, I also explained just how poets commonly count “feet” quite than syllables. A “foot” is a team of syllables that develop the valuation of the poem.

Most poetic feet save on computer a solitary stressed syllable, and one or 2 unstressed syllables. So you deserve to usually counting the variety of feet in a line of poetry merely by counting the dashes after friend scan it.

Knowing this, we deserve to see that the heat “My puppy punched me in the eye” includes four feet, and each foot is 2 syllables long. Let’s take it a watch at an additional example.

- / - - / -I didn"t walk camping.I hope you have the right to see that this heat has two feet (because there room two stressed syllables in the whole line), and each foot has actually three rate (unstressed – emphasize – unstressed). The an initial foot is “I didn’t” and also the 2nd foot is “go camping.” If we were come scan the entire stanza (a “stanza” is what we call a paragraph or verse of a poem), it would look prefer this:

- / - - / -I didn"t go camping.- / - - / -I didn"t go hiking.- / - - / -I didn"t walk fishing.- / - - / -I didn"t go biking.Notice that each the the four lines in this stanza have actually the specific same rhythm. The is, they have the same number of feet, and also the very same placement that stressed and unstressed syllables.

Now the your revolve to shot your hand in ~ scanning. Print out this page and use a pen or pencil compose the scansion marks around each heat in this stanza:

My mom said to do my chores,

to dust the shelves and mop the floors,

and wipe the walls and also wind the clocks,

and scoop the kitty"s litter box.When you are done scanning this stanza, right here are a few questions come answer:

How plenty of feet are in each line?How plenty of syllables room in every foot?Do all 4 lines have the same rhythm?

Hold your mouse over this line to view if you got the best answers.

Why Scan?

So, why would you want to learn just how to scan poems? There room a variety of ways in i beg your pardon scanning poems deserve to be advantageous when girlfriend are finding out to create poetry.

You have the right to scan poems written by others to check out what type of rhythms they use.You can scan your very own poems to see if there are any type of mistakes in her rhythms (missing or extra syllables, misplaced stresses, etc.)Knowing just how to scan poems can assist you come experiment with various kinds the rhythms in her poems.

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Now you recognize the basics the scansion. If girlfriend would prefer a little much more practice, feel free to publish out any of the poems top top and add scan marks come them through a pen or pencil.

In the following Rhythm in poetry lessons, i will present the various kinds of feet friend will discover in poems and also show you exactly how to usage them in your very own poems. Till then, happy scanning!