Accent (poetry)

In English poetry, accent refers to the stressed syllable of a polysyllabic word, or a monosyllabic word that receives stress because it belongs to an "open class" of words (noun, verb, adjective, adverb) or because of "contrastive" or "rhetorical" stress. In basic analysis of a poem by scansion, accents can be represented by a short vertical line (') preceding the syllable, while the divisions between feet are shown by a slash (/).[1]

Metrical feet and accents
˘ ˘pyrrhic, dibrach
˘ ¯iamb
¯ ˘trochee, choree
¯ ¯spondee
˘ ˘ ˘tribrach
¯ ˘ ˘dactyl
˘ ¯ ˘amphibrach
˘ ˘ ¯anapaest, antidactylus
˘ ¯ ¯bacchius
¯ ¯ ˘antibacchius
¯ ˘ ¯cretic, amphimacer
¯ ¯ ¯molossus

There is generally one accent in each foot, for example:

Be-'hold / her, 'sin-/gle 'in / the 'field
Yon 'sol-/i-'tar-/y 'high-/land 'lass!
'Reap-ing / and 'sing-/ing 'by / her-'self;
'Stop here /or 'gent-/ly 'pass.

See also


  1. St. Edward's University: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-07-03. Retrieved 2007-12-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Accessed December 28, 2007.
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