Friday, April 20, 2012

da-Dum, da-Dum . . .


"What is Iambic Pentameter?

Let’s define some terms to help explain this one. Meter refers to the pattern of syllables in a line of poetry. The most basic unit of measure in a poem is the syllable and the pattern of syllables in a line, from stressed to unstressed or vice versa. This is the meter. Syllables are paired two and three at a time, depending on the stresses in the sentence.

Two syllables together, or three if it’s a three-syllable construction, is known as a foot. So in a line of poetry the cow would be considered one foot. Because when you say the words, the is unstressed and cow is stressed, it can be represented as da DUM. An unstressed/stressed foot is known as an iamb. That’s where the term iambic comes from.

Pentameter is simply penta, which means 5, meters. So a line of poetry written in pentameter has 5 feet, or 5 sets of stressed and unstressed syllables. In basic iambic pentameter, a line would have 5 feet of iambs, which is an unstressed and then a stressed syllable. For example:

If you would put the key inside the lock

This line has 5 feet, so it’s written in pentameter. And the stressing pattern is all iambs:

if YOU | would PUT | the KEY | inSIDE | the LOCK

da DUM | da DUM | da DUM | da DUM | da DUM

That’s the simplest way to define iambic pentameter."


Nice. Thanks for the explanation there iambic dude above: it makes the song below ever the more interesting.


  1. I think the question is not "What is Iambic Pentameter?" Instead, it is "Why did you feel the need to define Iambic Pentameter?"

  2. True; but to answer that question in the post - although you are not suggesting that - is to give away the relation, if any, between said definition and the video.
    We must do our own homework.

  3. Ah. Video. I thought that was an ad. Hmmm...