How many lines are there in a sonnet?

Question: How many lines are there in a sonnet?

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14 lines.

A sonnet is a poetic form that originated in Italy during the 13th century and became popular in English literature during the Renaissance. It is a 14-line poem written in iambic pentameter, which means each line consists of five pairs of unstressed and stressed syllables.

There are two main types of sonnets: the Italian (Petrarchan) sonnet and the English (Shakespearean) sonnet.

  1. Italian (Petrarchan) Sonnet: The Italian sonnet is divided into two parts: an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines). The octave typically presents a problem or poses a question, while the sestet provides a resolution or answer. The rhyme scheme of an Italian sonnet is typically ABBAABBA for the octave and CDCDCD or CDECDE for the sestet. However, variations can occur.
  2. English (Shakespearean) Sonnet: The English sonnet is divided into three quatrains (four lines) and a final couplet (two lines). It follows the rhyme scheme ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The quatrains usually present different ideas or arguments, while the couplet often serves as a conclusion, summary, or twist.

Sonnets are known for their concise and structured nature, often exploring themes of love, beauty, time, and mortality. Many renowned poets, including William Shakespeare, John Donne, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, have written sonnets, contributing to their enduring popularity in the realm of poetry.