What’s Magical about the Rule of Three – TALLspeaking (your speech coach)

19 Apr

What’s Magical About the Rule of Three?
It is reasonable to ask what’s so special about three? Why is it so popular in our culture? Aren’t there just as many examples of two- or four-element famous speech lines?

For a famous duo, there is Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death.”

For a classic quartet, it is tough to beat Winston Churchill’s “I would say to the House as I said to those who have joined this government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

Despite examples like these, there is something magical about the Rule of Three in the way that it allows a speaker to express a concept, emphasize it, and make it memorable.

Historic Rule of Three Speech Examples
Speechwriting is, of course, part of our culture. Examples of the Rule of Three can be found in some of the most famous speeches ever delivered:

Julius Caesar
“Veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered)
Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
“Friends, Romans, Countrymen. Lend me your ears.“
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
“We can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground.“
“Government of the people, by the people, for the people“
General MacArthur, West Point Address, 1962
“Duty, Honor, Country” [repeated several times in the speech]
Barack Obama, Inaugural Speech
“we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America“

One Response to “What’s Magical about the Rule of Three – TALLspeaking (your speech coach)”

  1. Peter April 22, 2012 at 06:42 #

    The classic architecture of a speech was three sections, each illustrated by three sub- points, so even in the area of structure we see that magical number three.

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