“If We Must Die” follows the rhyme scheme typically associated with the English sonnet. In a traditional English sonnet, the rhyming pattern is organized into four groupings. The first three groupings are quatrains with alternating rhymes, and the final grouping is a rhyming couplet. This pattern results in the following rhyme scheme: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. “If We Must Die” follows this rhyme scheme exactly. By adhering so closely to the traditional sonnet rhyme scheme, the poem naturally breaks into distinct sections, with each section consisting of either a single sentence or a unified idea. Consider the opening quatrain as an example (lines 1–4):

     If we must die, let it not be like hogs
     Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
     While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
     Making their mock at our accursèd lot.

These four lines make up a single sentence, which, in addition to the ABAB rhyme scheme, gives the quatrain an additional sense of coherence and unity. Also worth noting is the fact that all the rhyming words are monosyllabic, meaning they have just one syllable. The shortness of these words gives them an added punch and underscores their thematic significance, which helps drive the speaker’s overall message home.