Thursday, May 31, 2012


Some believe bad things happen in threes. I believe the opposite, that good things come in threes. We can find sequences of threes in many areas of our life. Christianity speaks of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Movies and books often have three-word titles (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) or three main characters (Three Little Pigs). There are three branches of U.S. government. And mottos abound with threes (Stop, Drop, and Roll; Location, location, location).

Famous orators and leaders also have used the number three to good advantage. Caesar said, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Abe Lincoln referred to our nation as a “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Three is a golden number in writing, too. People seem to remember things better when they are said in sequences of three. The “rule of three” allows a writer of non-fiction to express an idea, emphasize it, and make it a memorable quote. In fiction, putting words and ideas in a group of three (called a “tricolon”) adds rhythm to the language and inspiration to the message.

As writers, we can take the rule of three one step farther. We can use it in our daily schedule. Write 300 words (or three hours) a day, check off three marketing tasks a day, file three items from our stack of papers a day. Each of us can tailor the list to our own needs.

What do you say? I say, Hip-hip-hooray for the golden number of three!

No comments: