How do you identify the rhyme scheme between the lines of a poem when they end with the same word? For example:

I like to think chess is a courteous game,
I play it with family and friends.
I like to think chess is a peaceful game,
Nobody gets hurt when it ends.

Is the rhyme scheme simply ABAB in this case?

And how about the rhyme scheme when the words don't rhyme at all?

I never distract my opponent,
I don't want to act like a pest.
I hope they behave in the very same way,
So both of us play at our best.

Is it XAXA or ABCB?

Overall, is a rhyme scheme separate for each stanza or the poem on the whole? What are the relevant rules? (Relevant to the question, that is.)

  • 1
    – Nico
    Mar 4, 2014 at 17:42
  • @Nico You are referring to the second question, correct? So it'd be ABCB and not XAXA, I guess?
    – its_me
    Mar 4, 2014 at 17:51
  • yes, that's how I understand it, but I'll keep searching when I find some time. I wouldn't be surprised if there were other notations.
    – Nico
    Mar 4, 2014 at 18:20
  • 1
    X is generally used to refer to unrhymed lines, so either ABCB or XAXA is fine here. X never rhymes with itself, if you like.
    – Chris M
    Mar 4, 2014 at 19:11

1 Answer 1


Although 'game' and 'game' is an identical rhyme, because it is the same sound, I think this would be ABAB as you suggest.

You are also right that the second example would be XAXA. Nico is right that you could also write this ABCB; both are valid. Because X is a special notation for an unrhymed line, you might choose XAXA for clarity, particularly for longer stanzas. I prefer it, because you can immediately see which lines are rhymed, and which are not, without having to remember each letter and see if it has been used twice.

In terms of rules, I think it is common for the rhyme scheme to be separate for each stanza. A poem may follow an ABAB scheme throughout, so it is simpler to write ABAB ABAB ABAB, rather than ABAB CDCD EFEF. If there is a more complex overarching rhyme scheme which connects the stanzas, you might choose to use one scheme overall, e.g. ABAB CDCD ABAB CD AB.

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