Iamb Examples


An iamb is a group of two syllables in a line of poetry. The first syllable is not stressed, and the second syllable is stressed.

There are different types of iambic poetry-depending on how many sets of iambs are in the line. For example, Shakespeare's sonnets are written in iambic pentameter-meaning there are five iambs in each line (or 10 syllables that alternate unstressed and then stressed).

Examples of Iamb:

To better show the iambs the syllables in each line that should be stressed are in bold, and the syllables are separated with dashes.

From Shakespeare's Sonnet 18

Shall I com-pare thee to a sum-mer's day?

Thou art more love-ly and more tem-per-ate.

Rough winds do shake the dar-ling buds of May, And sum-mer's lease hath all too short a date.

From Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud"

I wan-dered lone-ly as a cloud

That floats on high o'er dale and hill

When, all at once, I saw a crowd

A host of gold-en daf-fo-dils.

From Roethke's "My Papa's Waltz"

We romped un-til the pans

Slid from the kitch-en shelf;

My moth-er's count-e-nance

Could not un-frown it-self.

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