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Iambs

A metrical foot is the fundamental building block of the rhythm of poetry. Most forms of poetry make extensive use of rhythm, and getting comfortable with the rhythms of language is a key part of getting comfortable with writing poetry.

So let's talk about the simplest of metrical feet: the iamb. An iamb is a sequence of two syllables in which the first syllable is unaccented, and the second syllable is accented.

How do you know if a syllable is accented? Easy! Does it get emphasized more than the syllable next to it? If it does, it's accented.

So here are some iambs, with the accented (heavier) syllable written in upper case letters:

unDONE
reMOVE
beWITCH

You can also string iambs together:

by HOOK or CROOK
unTIL the CLOCK strikes ONE
the ROOSter CROWS beFORE the SUN aWAKES

See how nicely those lines flow off the tongue?

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