Katerina Stratford

10 Things I Hate About You Poem

’10 Things I Hate About You’ is a teenage expression of love and frustration. It is told from the perspective of a young woman finding the right words to define her experience.

10 Things I Hate About You’ comes from the 1999 American romantic comedy film of the same name. It was directed by Gil Junger and stared, most prominently, Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Larisa Oleynik. The story is a modern retelling of the William Shakespeare play, The Taming of the Shew. It is set mostly in a high school. The film was released on March 31, 1999, and was moderately successful. Since then, it has become a cult favorite. More recently, the film was adapted into a television series of the same title. It ran for twenty episodes. 

10 Things I Hate About You Poem


Summary of 10 Things I Hate About You

10 Things I Hate About You’ is a short poem about an emotionally turbulent teenage relationship from the film 10 Things I Hate About You.

In the first lines of the poem the speaker, Kat, addresses Patrick, telling him about all the things she hates about his actions and habits. Some of these are more serious than others, including how he lies to her, his boots, and the way he cuts his hair. The second half of the poem is more emotional. There, the speaker addresses the problems at the heart of their relationship and the truth that she doesn’t, in fact hate Patrick at all. 

You can read the full poem here.


Themes in 10 Things I Hate About You

The most prominent themes in ‘10 Things I Hate About You’ are love and relationships. It is clear through the brief but emotional lines of the poem that the speaker and her intended listener are not on the best of terms. They are struggling to figure out what kind of relationship they have and want to have. They may be in love with each other, but their youth and their very different personalities make it difficult to let things progress smoothly. The poem itself attempts to reconcile, or at least clear up, things between them and put their relationship on a new path. 


Structure and Form

’10 Things I Hate About You’ is a sixteen line poem from the 1999 film of the same name. ‘The poem is read aloud in the film, meaning that the formatting is somewhat up for interpretation. But, that being said, there are sixteen statements and some very obvious end-punctuation placement. There are also several examples of rhyme in the poem, although there is not a consistent pattern. For example, “hair” and “stare” in lines two and four and “call” and “all” at the end of the poem. 


Literary Devices

There are several literary devices in ‘10 Things I Hate About You’. These include, but are not limited to, anaphora, repetition, alliteration, and allusion. The first of these, anaphora, is a kind of repetition concerned with the use and reuse of words at the beginning of multiple lines of verse. For example, “I hate it,” which begins at least nine lines out of the approximated sixteen. 

There are also other examples of repetition in the formatting of the lines. For instance, the majority of the lines address something that the speaker hates about the intended listener. In the last line, or lines depending on how the poem is divided, the speaker uses “not even” three times. 

Alliteration is another kind of repetition. It is seen when the speaker uses words that teeing with the same consonant sound. For instance, “big,” and “boots” in line five and “mind,” “much,” and “makes” in lines five and six. 

Lastly, there are several examples of allusions. The speaker, Kat, references moments from earlier on in the film when she speaks to Heath Ledger’s character, Patrick, about his treatment of her and their relationship. 


Analysis of 10 Things I Hate About You

Lines 1-8 

I hate the way you talk to me 


it even makes me rhyme. I hate it,

In the first lines of ‘10 Things I Hate About You’, the speaker, Kat, starts powerfully telling Patrick that she hates how he speaks to her and how he cuts his hair. In these two lines, there is an example of a superficial irritation and a more emotional one. She is put off by the way he talks to her, suggesting something more troubling at the heart of their relationship. But, by adding in the bit about his hair, she is lightening that blow somewhat and starting to make use of another literary device known as accumulation. 

In the next lines, she mentions his “big dumb combat boots,” the way he stares, and drives her car. Again, these are fairly superficial, keeping the right emotional but still somewhat humorous atmosphere that the film was striving for. 

Over the next lines, she comes to a breaking point in which her words become more emotional and she gets to the heart of what she’s trying to say. Before then, she speaks one humorous line about how her hatred of him makes her “sick” and even makes her “rhyme”. In the film, Julia Stiles’ delivery of this line makes it clear that her character is very aware of the silliness of this addition in the midst of what is an emotional appeal. 


Lines 9-16 

I hate the way you’re always right. 

I hate it when you lie. 


Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all. 

In the next lines of ‘10 Things I Hate About You,’Kat lists out a few more of the things that bother her about Heath Ledger’s character, Patrick. This includes his willingness to lie and the fact that he’s “always right”. These things, and those that follow, pile on top of one anther to create an image of their relationship that’s very clear. Even someone who has not seen the film will understand the majority of what she’s trying to get at. Plus, in its relative vagueness and dependence on allusion, readers or listeners will likely be able to connect the lines to someone in their life now or someone in their past. 

In conclusion, Kat becomes quite emotional and tells Patrick that she hates the fact that she doesn’t hate him. Using repetition in the last line, she emphasizes this by saying that she doesn’t hate him “even a little bit, not even at all”. This makes everything that she’s said before moot and complicates the emotions of the scene that ends with her leaving the classroom.


Similar Poems

Readers who enjoyed this poem should also consider looking at our list of the Top 10 Greatest Love Poems. The poems on this list explore the different ways that people love one another and the complexity of those relationships. Some other related poems include Love Poemby Elizabeth Jennings, Sonnet 43by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Sometimes with One I Loveby Walt Whitman. 

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Emma Baldwin Poetry Expert
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues through analyzing poetry on Poem Analysis.
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