I noticed in many poems that the verses do not contain words according to proper grammar rules. I was told that poets are allowed to do this to incorporate rhyming words.

For example, in the famous Daffodils:

And then my heart with pleasure fills

instead of

And then my heart fills with pleasure

There are other examples in the same poem; it is a very common construct I have noticed.

What is it called?

  • 2
    Poetic license, as Chris says. But it is worth pointing out that there is no violation of grammar rules involved here at all. This is merely about conventional prose word ordering vs less conventional poetic word ordering. English grammar allows for lots of variation in word order. Some are just more conventional than others.
    – user16226
    Nov 5, 2017 at 15:55

2 Answers 2


This is called poetic license. Although the more familiar use of the term is to depart from the facts for a better sounding story or phrase, the use of it to mean departure from standard grammar and syntax is arguably the more foundational one, as attested by this entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Poetic license, the right assumed by poets to alter or invert standard syntax or depart from common diction or pronunciation to comply with the metrical or tonal requirements of their writing. https://www.britannica.com/art/poetic-license

  • Someone likes the term poetic license so much that there is a shoe brand name.
    – Farhan
    Nov 3, 2017 at 16:10

It's called a Solecism. It's confusing term because the first definition is 'a grammatical error.' The poet, and authors, aren't making errors they are deliberately skirting established conventions because the normal forms wouldn't be artful and wouldn't have the effect they wish to create.

The second definition fits better: a breach of decorum or established patterns. This is a technique writers employee to evoke reactions and thoughts in their reader, whether its with their creative sentences, their characterizations, their plots, or their themes. It might only be used in some circumstances to preserve a cadence or rhythm. Or it might used to evoke a moment of awkwardness in the readers mind that reflects some trait of the character or situation.

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