The Power of Three: Rhetorical English

“3, That’s the Magic Number, Yes it is”

  • “The Magic Number”, De La Soul (1990)

 

“Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds”

  • The three virtues of HumataHukhta and Huvarshta

 

 

The power of the number three is intriguing, mystifying and enchanting. Why is it that this number seems to be so powerful? Is it because we are the third planet from the sun? Why are the Olympic Games’ medals awarded to first, second and third places? Why do we eat a three-course meal? It is weird. Don’t you think?

The number “3” represents something very important and powerful in English; particularly in publicity and advertising. Consider the slogans;

“Coke Is It!” – Coca-Cola

“I’m lovin’ it!” – McDonalds

“Just Do It!” – Nike

Even in another language it can be effective:

“Vorsprung durch Technik” – Audi

Pythagoras thought that three was the noblest of numbers as it is “the only number to equal the sum of all the terms below it, and the only number whose sum with those below equals the product of them and itself.”

Personally, I like to think that the idea of three is a manifestation of the idea that at a basic level “3” describes a position between two extremes. For example, Goldilocks had porridge “too hot”, “too cold” and “just right”.

Whatever the reason for this may be, it is unarguably an effective technique. So if you want to make a point more strongly, effectively or powerfully, use the rule of three.

 

That’s all folks.