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Writing a limerick

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Limericks are short poems of five lines long, with a rhyme scheme of aabba. This means that the first, second and fifth lines rhyme and so do the third and fourth.

Limericks are always funny and often silly.

Here is a limerick written by the famous limerick writer, Edward Lear:

There was an Old Person of Putney, 
Whose food was roast spiders and chutney, 
Which he took with his tea 
Within sight of the sea, 
That romantic Old Person of Putney.

Read this limerick aloud a few times so that you can hear the rhythm. It goes like this:

Da da dum da da dum da da dum 
Da da dum da da dum da da dum 
Da da dum da da dum 
Da dad um dad a dum 
Da da dum da da dum da da dum

See how the last word of the first lines are the same; the place name, Putney. Lear did this in most of his limericks, but not all of them.

See also how Lear uses lots of prepositions: whose... which ... within. They all come at the start of a line.

Another thing you may have noticed is that Lear gives the name of the person in his limerick capital letters:

an Old Person of Putney 
but he doesn't give her an actual name like Lucy or Jane.

Now write your own limerick using the writing frame below. Make sure you keep the rhythm, rhyme and silliness of Lear's. You might like to use the name of the place where you live, or one you know well. But be careful what you choose. Some place names are difficult or even impossible to find rhymes for.

There was a young person of...........................,

Who/whose ....................................................,

He/she......................................................,

...........................................................,

That ......................young person of ....................

Here's one that I wrote using the name of the town where I live:

There was a young person of Crook, 
Whose head became stuck in a book, 
She tugged at the pages, 
For ages and ages, 
That bookish young person of Crook

Dorothy Massey is the author of Better English published by Studymates and the Ghost Twin Tales: Mini Mysteries and Kooky Spookies, a Pinestein Press anthology. An expert in literacy for adults and children, she writes quality educational materials and children's fiction. To find out more about Dorothy and writing for children in the UK, visit Dorothy's blog:http://www.kidsbooksuk.blogspot.com



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