Sign In

Why and How to Use the Rule of Three in Your Writing: Simple Magic

Three Fingers with Faces

Let’s go back to our childhood for a while. I know, it’s easier said than done, but the warm memories will be able to help us get to the heart of the matter we are going to discuss today.

So, can you remember any fairytale that your mommy, daddy, granny, or elder sister read or told you at bedtime? Was it about the three piglets? Or about the three bears and Goldilocks? Or, probably, about the tree sons of an old wise king who wished to choose the most decent heir to his throne?

All these stories must be familiar to you. As well as the magic number of three which is employed either to create the main characters or to build the entire plot, or to do both.

Today we are going to make out what is so magic about this number and whether it can help you with writing your college essays or, maybe, your own poems, novellas, or whatever you like. Let’s reveal the secret together and see how to create a story that will do the rounds!

Some Interesting Facts to Warm up Your Appetite

As you have already guessed, the so-called Rule of Three implies that you, as an author of any paper, use three particular elements to build the narration. But why can’t you use four or seven of them? The following facts would be the most proper answers to this question!

  • It has been proved that it is easier for us to remember exactly three elements.
  • Hence the message they carry can have a bigger influence on us.
  • Harmony in music is provided by three-note blocks.
  • In some religions there are mainly three supreme deities: for example, in Christianity we can find Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • Whether it is a piece of writing or a chemical process, we say that it has the beginning, the middle, and the end. Can you see the three elements here?
  • The most successful and widely recognized mottos and slogans contain three words. For example, the American Declaration of Independence promoted three values (these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness), while the Olympic motto is translated from Latin as “Faster, Higher, Stronger”.

“3” In Academic Writing

When you are assigned to compose a 5-paragraph essay, you know that the three paragraphs should definitely be devoted to three facts, arguments, or any other examples which could support the idea you state in the introduction, as well as help you make a logical conclusion. These three examples make the body of your paper.

Let’s check how it all works in practice:

  • all three arguments you provide can support your point of view;
  • two of the three arguments can support your idea, while one of them describes a possible opposite opinion or approach;
  • if we consider some types of academic papers that are lengthier than essays, two of the three parts in them are devoted mostly to the theory of the issue discussed, while the last, third, part demonstrates its pragmatic facet.
Old Book Open

“3” In Creative Writing

From fairytales and fables we have grown up to such novels as “Three Comrades” by Erich M. Remarque, “The Three Musketeers” by Alexandre Duma, “Three Men in a Boat” by Jerome K. Jerome, or “The Three Kingdoms” by Luo Guanzhong, and many other great works of literature. Seems like the global plot of writers, doesn’t it?

Given that the Rule of Three does date back to very ancient times, it’s no wonder that authors of all times and places have used it in their masterpieces. Let’s figure out what is so special about this very number. I’ll list three ideas here.

  • Firstly, exactly three elements, whatever they are, can help an author avoid seeming too narrow-minded. Obviously, if they take only one element, they will be criticized for one-sidedness. Although two elements are definitely better than one, the number two can, and will, be associated with two, usually opposite, extremes. And this will mean that the author either cannot find a compromise between them or just doesn’t want to look for it.

  • Consequently, and secondly, three components let the writer cover a larger scale of situations or ideas, describe them in more detail, and come up with more solutions, if they are necessary. It is because the third component can be either a hybrid of the other two components or something significantly different from them.

    By the way, at this very point the rule we are discussing helps us see a very clear pattern according to which these components are selected. The formula is similar + similar + different (or outstanding). The result is a well-narrated and all-inclusive story.

  • Last but not least, three elements will surely draw attention of your reader. I can’t but set the so well-known “love triangle” as an example here. The third element is something that must alter the balance in any case. It always adds some special flavor to your story, making it exciting and smartly complicated.

Rated 4.4 | 12 votes.

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published.

Order now+

Looking for a high-end writing?

Whatever your purpose is – one-page school essay or in-depth analysis – we got it

Order now

push the button