I have never understood the point of “near-rhymes” in songs.
Whether they are in church hymns, songs we sang back in school or other times when I have been singing somewhat on key, I have always been a little confused about them.
I believe they may also be referred to as imperfect rhymes, eye rhymes, half rhymes or lazy rhymes, but for the purpose of this high level academic discussion, I am just going to refer to them as near-rhymes.
A near-rhyme is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “Rhyming in which the words sound the same but do not rhyme perfectly.”
I find that definition to be generous, if anything, as often the words in songs are not even close to rhyming. Many times, the words look like they should rhyme, but they don’t rhyme at all. (I believe these are eye rhymes.)
I usually see these in songs where there is a certain rhyming pattern that works well in every verse except the one with the near-rhyme.
I asked about this once in school and was told that it was ok that the words didn’t rhyme in a few songs we were singing because they were near-rhymes.
Our teacher was great so I didn’t really question it, but I remember thinking, “But they don’t actually rhyme. Who cares if it is a near-rhyme?”
Isn’t that like saying I have a “near-answer” for a math problem? It’s not perfect, but it’s close to the right answer. Maybe if I take 10 times 10, I can say that the answer is 1010 because I am using “eye math.”
Or what if I have a “near-key” for my lock? It doesn’t fit perfectly, but it looks like it would fit.
It either rhymes or it doesn’t. To paraphrase Yoda, “Rhyme. Or Do Not. There is no near.”
I should add that if poets such as the talented Silent Hour use near-rhymes in their work, I am not going to argue with them because poetry is very complex. Also, poets are generally much smarter than me and can even come up with words that rhyme with argue.
I know that this important issue concerns many other people, though, such as my brother, Marty, who always sings the near-rhymes as if they rhyme. I try to do that now, too, because it makes singing much more fun.
For the last few months, I have also been writing down near-rhymes whenever I see them, because, well, doesn’t everyone do that?
So here are some examples of near-rhymes I have seen in songs recently:
- Move and Above – I believe this is an eye rhyme. I can see how these two words look like they would rhyme, but they are very different. The second word should be sung as ah-boove
- Love and Remove – This is similar to the first example, and it reminds that I wish we could re-muv all near-rhymes from songs.
- Road and God – This example is not even close to rhyming, and it doesn’t even look like it should.
- Home and Come – This is another example of a situation where the words look like they should rhyme but they clearly do not. If you take one of these words along with a word from the line above (or ah-boove) and use them in a John Denver song, it would sound like this, “Country rod, take me hum…”
- Live and Strive – This one is somewhat reasonable because in some sentences, those two words do rhyme. In the song I saw them in, though, I had to strih-ve to understand why the author wrote it this way.
- Submit and Feet – I question if this example should even be considered a near-rhyme because they are so far away from rhyming. What do you think of eet?
- One and Tone – At least this looks like it rhymes. But couldn’t the author have used the word “done” instead?
- Give and Grieve- This one is close. I can leeve with this near-rhyme.
- Bear and Tear – These could rhyme, but in the song tear was as in crying, not ripping.
- Song and Throne – I question why the author even tried to rhyme these two in that soan.
- Blood and Good – I think that this is an acceptable near-rhyme because they are very close and I don’t know what else the author cud have done here.
- Ponder and Wonder – I think it’s dumb that these two words don’t rhyme. We should try to change that.
- Father and Gather – I’d rauh-ther if the ath-er hadn’t tried to rhyme this one because it bath-ers me so much.
- Flow and Through – Why would the author do this? There are so many other words that rhyme with flow! I realize that ough words are confusing, but the author just needed to think this throw.
Do you have any thoughts on near-rhymes or any other near-rhymes from your own list? Feel free to share them below. Thanks!