Mammoth Memory

Iambic pentameter

An iambic foot (iamb) has a short syllable followed by a long syllable (SL or U/).

Pentameter is five feet per line.

This is the most popular metre in the English language. As well as Shakespeare’s sonnets, there’s a host of poetry, old and modern, that uses iambic pentameter.



Pentameter is five feet per line

I have been one acquainted with the night.

I have walked out in rain – and back in rain.

I have outwalked the furthest city light.


I have looked down the saddest city lane.

I have passed by the watchman on his beat

And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.


I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet

When far away an interrupted cry

Came over houses from another street,


But not to call me back or say good-bye;

And further still at an unearthly height,

One luminary clock against the sky


Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right

I have been one acquainted with the night.

Robert Frost – Acquainted with the Night


A closer look at the feet in this poem

U = short syllable; / = long syllable; | = division between feet

Pentameter example

More Info