ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Write a Sonnet

Updated on March 4, 2008

What is a Sonnet?

Sonnets are fourteen lined poems with a strict rhyme scheme. Depending on whether the sonnet is an Italian sonnet or an English, or Shakespearean, sonnet, the rhyme scheme will vary just a little.

You may, also, hear about the lesser known sonnet, the spenserian sonnet, which, also, has its own rhyme scheme.

Poets that are famous for writing sonnets include, Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barret Browning, John Milton, William Wordsworth, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Sonnet Books

How to Write a Sonnet

  1. Select the subject. Most sonnets tell tales of love or philosophy.
  2. Make two sections. The first section will describe the problem, and the second section will provide the climax and conclusion.
  3. Write your sonnet.


Make sure to have 14 lines.

English sonnets are laid out as 3 quatrains (3 sections of 4 lines each) and a pair (section of 2 lines).

The Italian sonnet is formatted with a octane (set of 8 lines) and a sextet (set of 6 lines).

Sometimes you will find sonnets with only 10 lines, but remember that the traditional sonnet will have 14.

Rhyme Schemes

Depending on the style of sonnet (Italian, English, or Spenserian), you will want to keep a specific rhyme scheme.

  • Italian sonnet:

First written as: a b a b, a b a b, c d e c d e

Now written as: a b b a, a b b a, c d c c d c

  • English sonnet:

a b a b, c d c d, e f e f, g g

  • Spenserian sonnet:

a b a b, b c b c, c d c d, e e

(Matching letters have the same rhyming sound.)

In regards to more modern sonnets, they may not rhyme, but they still keep the 14 line format.

Other Tips

Try writing the lines of in iambic pentameter, where you choose words in such as way that causes every other syllable to have a strong, stressed sound, which creates the effect that the line line ends with a strong sound.

Try to get about ten syllables per line.

When you think you're stumped. Take a break, but make sure to go back and rework and rewrite your sonnet. It may take you extra time to get it right in the end, but the time that you put into writing and editing your poem, the happier you will be with it in the end.

Example of a Sonnet

Here's a quick sonnet, I through together. Don't fault me too bad. It's not meant to be serious, and trust me it's a little rough, but for the most part, it's meant as an example of the correct format and rhyme scheme of an Italian sonnet.

I bought a small, tiny puppy

From a man beneath the trees.

I was lucky to avoid getting bit by the fleas.

My landlord pitched a fit, but she fell in love quickly.

We patted him off not only because he was smelly

But in hopes my Yorkie would tease

Instead he ran the other direction. I had to beg him "Please

Come out and see our new puppy."

After a few months, he began to grow big.

Bright blue eyes, fawn hair, and feet.

No plant left unaltered because he began to dig.

He ate everything in site, I swore I was raising a pig.

His favorite treat was meat,

But a hog nonetheless, he was definitely getting big.

Writing Sonnets

When writing a sonnet, it may be easier to choose a topic that comes easy to you.

  • Something or someone you love dearly.
  • Someone you admire.
  • Personal religious philosophy.

Find something that you're passionate about and write.

Sonnets are meant to be about love, infatuation, philosophy, and personal belief. The stronger you feel about the subject, the easier the poem will come to you.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)