Seamus Cooney, English

Interactive Quiz on Meter

Test your grasp of terms and your ability to identify meters by name.
It's worth pointing out that what you're learning here is merely a bit of terminology or jargon and the ability to apply it accurately. Naming meters is not the same as being sensitive to effects of rhythm in poems. Good readers who can hear   what they're reading will respond to the poet's effects even if they lack the terms to name them. Still, it's worthwhile to be able to discuss effects. I hope to add another quiz which will invite choices of a more subtle kind, between more and less expressive ways of scanning (i.e. hearing) lines of poetry.

Do this quiz often enough so you gain confidence.

You can also, to test your memory, see this quiz without suggested answers. Click here.


Memorize Coleridge's mnemonic lines to help you with the names of the feet. I list the main ones below, using a hyphen to show a weakly stressed syllable and a virgule or slash to show a strongly stressed syllable:

iamb - / "beCOME"
trochee / - "PRU frock"
spondee / / "LONG DAY"
dactyl / - - "SYLL ab le"
anapest - - / "in ter FERE"
 
	Trochee trips from long to short. 
        From long to long in solemn sort. 
        Slow Spondee stalks, strong foot!, yea ill-able. 
        Ever to keep up with Dactyl's trisyllable. 
	Iambics march from short to long, 
	With a leap and a bound the swift Anapests throng.   
"Long" and "short" are terms drawn from the metrics of Latin quantitative verse. English verse is patterned by accent or stress, so we use terms like "stressed and unstressed" or "strong and weak" to describe the meter. Remember that it is syllables that get counted and marked, not whole words, so don't let your eye mislead your ear.

In what follows, the diagonal slash marks a strongly stressed syllable, the hyphen a relatively weakly stressed syllable (relative, that is, to the adjacent syllables).


Click on your preferred answer and you'll find out if it's right.



  1. The following pattern in a line is an example of which meter?
    	- / - / - / - / - / 
    

    1. iambic tetrameter
    2. trochaic tetrameter
    3. dactyllic pentameter
    4. iambic pentameter
    5. trochaic pentameter
    6. anapestic tetrameter
    7. anapestic pentameter
    8. dactyllic tetrameter

  2. The following line is an example of which meter?
    	The curfew tolls the knell of parting day 
    

    1. iambic tetrameter
    2. iambic pentameter
    3. trochaic tetrameter
    4. dactyllic pentameter
    5. trochaic pentameter
    6. anapestic tetrameter
    7. anapestic pentameter
    8. dactyllic tetrameter

  3. The following lines exemplify which predominant meter? (Click to hear them read (118K).
    	Nor law nor duty bade me fight, 	
    	Nor public men, nor cheering crowds. 	
    	A lonely impulse of delight 	
    	Drove to this tumult in the clouds. 

    1. iambic tetrameter
    2. iambic pentameter
    3. trochaic tetrameter
    4. dactyllic pentameter
    5. trochaic pentameter
    6. anapestic tetrameter
    7. anapestic pentameter
    8. dactyllic tetrameter

  4. The following lines are an example of which meter?
            O young Lochinvar is come out of the west, 	
    	Through all the wide Border his steed was the best.       
    

    1. iambic tetrameter
    2. iambic pentameter
    3. trochaic tetrameter
    4. dactyllic pentameter
    5. trochaic pentameter
    6. anapestic tetrameter
    7. anapestic pentameter
    8. dactyllic tetrameter

  5. The following line is an example of which meter?
            The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen 
    ( Click to hear it spoken aloud (44K).)

    1. iambic tetrameter
    2. iambic pentameter
    3. trochaic tetrameter
    4. trochaic pentameter
    5. anapestic pentameter
    6. anapestic tetrameter
    7. dactyllic pentameter
    8. dactyllic tetrameter

  6. The following lines are predominantly in which meter?
    	Go, and catch a falling star,
    	Get with child a mandrake root, 
    	Tell me, where all past years are . . .
    

    1. iambic tetrameter
    2. iambic pentameter
    3. trochaic tetrameter
    4. trochaic pentameter
    5. anapestic pentameter
    6. anapestic tetrameter
    7. dactyllic pentameter
    8. dactyllic tetrameter

  7. The following lines are an example of which meter?
            Happy the man whose wish and care
    	A few paternal acres bound
    

    1. completely regular iambic tetrameter
    2. iambic tetrameter with substitutions
    3. completely regular iambic pentameter
    4. iambic pentameter with substitutions
    5. completely regular trochaic tetrameter
    6. trochaic tetrameter with substitutions
    7. completely regular trochaic pentameter
    8. trochaic pentameter with substitutions

  8. In the following lines which kind of foot predominates? (I am assuming that the opening words are stressed "Do you" and not "Do you.)"
    	Do you remember an inn, Miranda? 
    	Do you remember an inn?
    

    1. iambs
    2. trochees
    3. anapests
    4. spondees
    5. dactyls

  9. The following lines are examples of which meter?
    	When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
    I summon up remembrance of things past
    
    Click to hear the first line read (49K).

    1. completely regular iambic tetrameter
    2. iambic tetrameter with substitutions
    3. completely regular iambic pentameter
    4. iambic pentameter with substitutions
    5. completely regular trochaic tetrameter
    6. trochaic tetrameter with substitutions
    7. completely regular trochaic pentameter
    8. trochaic pentameter with substitutions

  10. The following lines are an example of which meter?
    	But I hung on like death.
    	Such waltzing was not easy.
    

    1. iambic tetrameter
    2. iambic pentameter
    3. trochaic tetrameter
    4. trochaic pentameter
    5. trochaic trimeter
    6. iambic trimeter


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    Posted September 19, 1996. Last updated December 8, 1998.
    This page has been visited times since September 19, 1996.

    A syllable is surprisingly hard to define with technical accuracy. Informally we might say it's the smallest bit of a word you can say on its own which contains a vowel sound. The word "syllable" has three syllables. The word "poem" has two syllables (po-em) or, in some people's pronunciation, one syllabe (pome). So there's room for disagreement at times. Back to where you were