The Rule of Three

First, Mumford & Sons. Just because.

Now onto the post. Monday, at my writing group meeting, somebody brought up the “rule of three“. I hadn’t heard of the rule of three, really, but I didn’t ask what it was. Luckily, somebody else in the group asked. Here’s a description from wikipedia:

The rule of three is a principle in writing that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. The reader/audience to this form of text is also more likely to consume information if it is written in groups of threes. From slogans (“Go, fight, win!”) to films, many things are structured in threes. There were three musketeers, three little pigs, three billy goats Gruff, Goldilocks and the three bears, three blind mice and three Stooges.

A series of three is often used to create a progression in which the tension is created, then built up, and finally released. Similarly, adjectives are often grouped together in threes in order to emphasize an idea.

So I’ve spent some time researching the “rule of three”. Some interesting stuff our there, including this pretty good article by Stephen Cannell (creator of A-Team and Greatest American Hero).

Anybody else spent some time thinking about the rule of three? Use it in your writing?

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5 thoughts on “The Rule of Three

  1. How is it then that three girls do not always get along?? Usually two gang up on one. The rule of threes doesn’t work well there. Just saying from experience both at work and personally. ๐Ÿ™‚

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