tricolon

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar

A tricolon (pl. tricola) is a sentence with three clearly defined parts (cola) of equal length, usually independent clauses and of increasing power.

Veni, vidi, vici

— (Julius Caesar)
“I came; I saw; I conquered.”

Etymology:

From the Greek, “three” + “unit”

Examples:

  • “I require three things in a man. He must be handsome, ruthless, and stupid.”
    (Dorothy Parker)
  • “You are talking to a man who has laughed in the face of death, sneered at doom, and chuckled at catastrophe.”
    (The Wizard in The Wizard of Oz, 1939)
  • “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
    (Benjamin Franklin)

 

  • “Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
    Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
    Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
    I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.”
    (Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Dirge Without Music”)
  • “Be sincere, be brief, be seated.”
    (Franklin D. Roosevelt’s advice to speakers)
  • “Ours is the age of substitutes: instead of language, we have jargon; instead of principles, slogans; instead of genuine ideas, bright ideas.”
    (Eric Bentley, “The Dramatic Event”)
  • “Eye it, try it, buy it.”
    (Slogan for Chevrolet, 1940s)
  • “In the still air, under the hard sun, gleamed the flags and the banners and the drum majorette’s knees.”
    (E.B. White, “Bond Rally”)
  • “And the fan takes over again, and the heat and the relaxed air and the memory of so many good little dinners in so many good little illegal places, with the theme of love, the sound of ventilation, the brief medicinal illusion of gin.”
    (E.B. White, “Here Is New York”)
  • “She loved Maytree, his restlessness, his asceticism, his, especially, abdomen.”
    (Annie Dillard, The Maytrees)
  • “Tradition. Innovation. Service.”
    (Slogan of First Chatham Bank)
  • “What a time we had: splashed through bogs, ate like hogs, slept like logs.”
    (Holling Vincoeur, Northern Exposure)
  • “The key to Springfield has always been Elm Street. The Greeks knew it. The Carthaginians knew it. Now you know it.”
    (Herman, “Bart the General,” The Simpsons)
  • “I think we’ve all arrived at a very special place. Spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically.”
    (Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean)
Pronunciation: TRY-ko-lon
Also Known As: triadic sentence
Partial source: Thomas Floyd VanCuren

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