What is the general purpose of a refrain?

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engtchr5's profile pic

engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Refrains are usually repetitions of a single word or phrase, even an entire stanza, for the sake of asserting its importance while enhancing the meter or rhythm of the literary work itself.

When an author really wants you to pay attention to a certain point or set of words, he/she will use a refrain to make it obvious. Refrains make reading more choral, or more musical, as the case may be.

herappleness's profile pic

M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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When you add a refrain to a song, or to a poem (particularly ballads), what you are doing is repeating a word, line, verse, stanza, line, or chorus, in order to balance the rhythm of the piece and to even-out the way it sounds. It will sound more rhythmic when you add a refrain.

Check out more information in the link provided on the actual meaning of refrains and some samples of them.


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simona2534 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

refrain is a phrase or verse recurring at intervals in a poem or song,usually at the end of stanza,which may help to establish the meter of the poem,indicate its tone or reestsblish its atmosphere.

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