Manner of Speaking

Rhetorical Devices: Tricolon

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This post is part of a series on rhetoric and rhetorical devices. For other posts in the series, please click this link.

Device: Tricolon

Origin: From the Greek τρία (tria), meaning “three” and κῶλον (kôlon), meaning “member” or “clause”.

In plain English: A series of three words, phrases or sentences that are parallel in structure, length and/or rhythm.

Effect:

Notes:

Examples:

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

—  Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address, 1865

———

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

—  Dwight Eisenhower,  Chance for Peace speech, 1953

———

“After this great liberator is laid to rest, and when we have returned to our cities and villages and rejoined our daily routines, let us search for his strength.  Let us search for his largeness of spirit somewhere inside of ourselves.  And when the night grows dark, when injustice weighs heavy on our hearts, when our best-laid plans seem beyond our reach, let us think of Madiba and the words that brought him comfort within the four walls of his cell: “It matters not how strait the gate, how charged [with punishments] the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”

— Barack Obama, Memorial Service for Nelson Mandela, 10 December 2013

———

“I require three things in a man: he must be handsome, ruthless and stupid.”

—  Dorothy Parker

———

“I actually feel rather good about this. I think we’ve all arrived at a very special place, eh? Spiritually, ecumenically … grammatically.”

—  Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean

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