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I guess the answer depends on whether the word is an adverb, noun, adjective, or verb. When I write a poem, I often find myself with limited choices when I want to make the verse rhyme, so this would be useful as a future reference for poem-lovers out there.

Anyway, as an example, let's say we have the word "doubt" and we need to find a rhyme for it on the next verse.

We decide to settle on the verb "spout". What are the various ways/techniques you can use to end a verse with "spout"?

  • Shout, naught, trout? – NofP Jan 26 at 18:30
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    Welcome. You can be as creative, no doubt, as the many opinions we spout. A glance through the window left doubt that he'd closed the water spout. Words that rhyme well with doubt include shout, runabout, and spout. Etc. But I suggest being open to changing the rhyme scheme and also the end word on the first line. – DPT Jan 27 at 0:33
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From my limited experience with attempts at writing verse, your starting point is what it is you actually want to say. A poem is not a random jumble of words that rhyme - it is a picture or an idea displayed by means of those words. So that's your first guiding technique - what is it that you're trying to say?

Then, you decide whether you're following any particular form. Verse is not constructed merely around the last words of phrases rhyming. Instead, lines tend to follow a repeating pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. There are also various rhyming patterns: lines might go abab, or aabb, or abba, or abacbabc, or many other structures. And you might also have internal rhymes. (For example, J.R.R. Tolkien's Song of Eärendil has every odd line rhyming with the middle of the next line, and the end of the line after that.) The form is an additional constraint within which you must work. The pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in particular shapes your choice of words for each line.

Now that you know what you want to say, in how many syllables, and what pattern your syllables must follow, my experience has been: take what you need to say, and shuffle the words around until they fit into the required pattern. If it won't fit, try playing with synonyms (those can add or remove a syllable). If that doesn't work, maybe the line needs to end with a different (rhyming) word, or maybe the first line too needs to be changed, so the core idea can be expressed with different rhymes. Repeat until desired result is produced, or until you trash the whole thing in exasperation.

My main point is, you're not looking for "a line to end with 'spout'" in a vacuum. You're trying to say something, and 'spout' is derived from what you're trying to say. Until you know what it is you're saying, you can't know if that word in the end of the line should be 'spout' or 'shout' or 'snout'.

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