Line Break Examples

Line Break

When poets end one line and begin another-whether it is at the natural end of a sentence or not-it is called a line break. Poets who choose to use line breaks in unnatural places-in the middle of phrases or sentences-have created enjambment.


When you quote from a poem and write the lines as prose, you should use a forward slash (/) to show where the line breaks were in the original poem.


Examples of Line Break:

From Shakespeare's Sonnet 130:

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips' red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; / Coral is farm more red than her lips' red; / If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; / If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.


It was many and many a year ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know

By the name of Annabel Lee;

It was many and many a year ago, / In a kingdom by the sea, / That a maiden there lived whom you may know / By the name of Annabel Lee.


From William Carlos Williams' "The Red Wheelbarrow":

so much depends

upon

a red wheel

barrow

glazed with rain

water

beside the white

chickens

So much depends / upon / a red wheel / barrow / glazed with rain / water / beside the white / chickens.

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