How to Write a Limerick

There once was a girl with some time, who wanted badly to write rhyme. She checked out this site, and to her delight, she found writing limericks prime.

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Up next in How to Write Fiction & Poetry (7 videos)

Take a crash course in creative writing with these Howcast videos. You'll learn how to write a short story, a limerick, a sonnet, a poem, a haiku, and even a joke. Plus, tips on how to rhyme and how to write a poem in iambic pentameter.

You Will Need

  • Limerick samples
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Imagination
  • Audience

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Read limericks

    Read other limericks to get an understanding of limericks. You can find collections of limericks at your local library or book store.

  2. Step 2

    Understand the form

    Learn the limerick's form. A limerick is a five-line poem, usually witty or funny, where the last word of lines one, two, and five, which each have eight syllables, rhyme, and the last word of lines three and four, which each have five syllables, rhyme.

  3. Step 3

    Write line one

    Write the first line, introducing a character or a location. The line should be eight syllables and the last word needs to rhyme with the last words of lines two and five. Don't end your first line with the word orange!

  4. Remember, limericks are meant to be funny, so setting up your joke or idea strongly at the beginning helps the rest of the poem.

  5. Step 4

    Write line two

    Begin line two. This line should introduce a plot. The last word must rhyme with the last word in line one and the line is again eight syllables.

  6. Step 5

    Write lines three and four

    Construct lines three and four by thinking of two rhyming words that can serve as the last words of these two lines. These lines are five syllables and can introduce a problem, solution, or maybe just something that makes the story funny.

  7. Step 6

    Write the final line

    Write your final line by reverting back to the format of lines one and two: eight syllables long with a last word that rhymes lines one and two. This line should wrap up your limerick, either wittily or humorously tightly.

  8. Step 7

    Read aloud

    Read aloud to an audience and enjoy the feedback!

  9. Although collections of limericks date back to 1820, Edward Lear is often credited with popularizing the modern limerick in his Book of Nonsense first published in 1846.

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