I am on my 10th or 12th revision of my book for my little girl. Every time I think I might be done, I find an error.

The book is written in an iambic tetrameter form. Iambic is a style of poetic verse where the second syllable is stressed (da-DUM). Each of these iambs (da-DUM) is referred to as a metrical foot. Iambic tetrameter contains four iambs per line containing four feet.

The challenge is how do you know if a one syllable word is stressed. I can use the dictionary for two syllable words but one syllable word will depend on the context. Some basic rules that help:

1. Nouns are usually stressed (“test”, “poems”, “stress”).
2. Action verbs are usually stressed (“test”, “stress”).
3. Less “important” words such as linking verbs (“do” in “how do you determine”, “was”, “is”), conjunctions (“and”, “or”, “but”), prepositions (“on”, “by”) are usually not stressed.
4. Pronouns may or may not be depending on context. Usually you can argue either way.


ChatGPT has been all over the news. It’s a AI chatbot developed by OpenAI. I thought I could utilize this to check my consistency – in the meter of verse. But I am not getting what I expected.

example: I thought contractions act as a single word. I assume the below would be an iambic trimeter; it has three iambs. ChatGPT differs.

“Let’s go/, we must/ be quick/”

ChatGPT reasons:

**Sigh… I provided feedback. I will check back in a few days.

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