The Book of Threes

Rhetorical Devices — Rule of Three

The rule of three describes triads of all types — any collection of three related elements. Two more specific triad variants are hendiatris and tricolon. Hendiatris A hendiatris is a figure of speech where three successive words are used to express a central idea. Examples of hendiatris include: “Veni, vidi, vici.” [Julius Caesar] “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité“ [French motto] “Citius, Altius, Fortius” […]

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Caesar ethos pathos logos

Ethos, Pathos, Logos – A General Summary of Aristotle’s Appeals

Ethos, Pathos, Logos Within the Trivium the goal of argumentative writing is to persuade your audience that your ideas are valid, or more valid than someone else’s. The Greek philosopher Aristotle divided the means of persuasion, appeals, into three categories–Ethos, Pathos, Logos. Ethos (Credibility), or ethical appeal, means convincing by the character of the author. We tend to believe people […]

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The New Language of Mathematics


THE SOUTHERN COMMUNICATION JOURNAL 55 (SUMMER, 1990), 337-354  WORDS AND NUMBERS: MATHEMATICAL DIMENSIONS OF RHETORIC  BY ALLEN H. MERRIAM  This essay investigates how numbers function rhetorically by in­fluencing persuasive appeals, the structure of messages, and our use of .language. The author argues that “three” is the dominant numerical motif of rhetoric in the English language. […]

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from ‘Discourse & Conversation Analysis’

I'm sure you've encountered all manner of theories purporting to explain the significance of things coming in threes. Here is another one for your collection, from 'Discourse & Conversation Analysis', an interesting branch of sociology that concerns itself with the linguistic and behavioural conventions that underpin day-to-day social life.

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