Difference Between Rhyme and Rhythm

Main Difference – Rhyme vs Rhythm

Rhyme and rhythm are key elements in a poem. They add musicality to poetry and serve as the backdrop against which the ideas and imagery can flow. The main difference between rhyme and rhythm is that rhyme is the correspondence of words and syllables while rhythm is the pattern of the poem, marked by stressed and unstressed syllables.

What is Rhyme

Rhyme is the correspondence of sound between words, especially when these are used at the ends of lines of poetry. Two words that end with the same sound are said to rhyme. For example, words like light and night share the same ending. Thus, they are rhyming words. Rhyme is often used in poetry to lend a pleasing effect to poetry which makes it enjoyable.

Rhyming words also help us to memorize. This is why many nursery rhymes use rhymes. For example,

Twinkle, twinkle little star

How I wonder what you are

In most poems, rhyming words are found at the end of lines. This is called external rhythm. Rhyming words can be found in the middle of the line as well. This type of rhyme is called internal rhyme.

Rhyme is a common literary device employed in poetry. It renders poetry a typical symmetry and makes the recital of poetry a pleasurable experience. Given below are some examples of examples of rhyme in poetry.

  ” Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

      Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore..” – (Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” )


“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date..” – (Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18)

Difference Between Rhyme and Rhythm

What is Rhythm

Rhythm is the pattern of stressed and unstressed beats. Although commonly found in poetry, it can be also found in some drama and prose work.

Rhythm can be analyzed by determining the number of lines of a poem, the number of syllables in the line, and the arrangement of syllables based on their nature – short or long, stressed or unstressed.

There are five main rhythms in English poetry; they are Iamb, Trochee, Spondee, Dactyl, and Anapest.

Iamb consists of two syllables: one unstressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable.

Trochee consists of one stressed syllable followed by one unstressed syllable.

Spondee consists of two syllables that are consecutively stressed.

Dactyl consists of three syllables: the first syllable is stressed, and the other two are unstressed.

Anapest consists of three syllables: the first two syllables are unstressed, and the last syllable is stressed.

Main Difference - Rhyme vs Rhythm

Difference Between Rhyme and Rhythm


Rhyme is the correspondence of sound between words, especially when these are used at the ends of lines of poetry.

Rhythm is the measured flow of words and phrases as measured by the relation of long and short or stressed and unstressed syllables.


Rhyme is mostly concerned with the use of words.

Rhythm is concerned with words, phrases, and lines.


Rhyme can be divided into internal and external rhyme.

Rhythm can be categorized into groups based on syllables.Difference Between Rhyme and Rhythm -infographic

Image Courtesy:

“Humpty Dumpty in a 1902 Mother Goose story book by William Wallace Denslow” (Public Domain) Commons Wikimedia

Geoffrey Chaucer” (Public Domain) Commons Wikimedia

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