presented by Acoustic Learning

A Rational Guide to Verse
or, Scansion Made Simple

Equality is special

The quality of verse is equality.  Human beings are hard-wired to appreciate equality-- things that are equal to each other.


Equality and inequality feel different.

The figures above feel different to look at.  This is because the left figure has two equal sides, and the right figure is unequal.  You feel a difference because of equality.  It’s weird but true.

You also feel a difference between equal and unequal language.  Of the two phrases below, one is equal and the other unequal.  You can feel the difference by saying them out loud.

"Kermit Frog" "Kermit the Frog"

You can feel equality in spoken language.

"Verse" is equalized language.  When English words form equal groups, they become verse.  The special feeling of verse comes from your natural human ability to perceive equality.

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