Rhetoric: Trying Tricolon

Rhetoric: Trying Tricolon

A Lesson by Camille Corbett

Because only idiots think that three's company.


Tri means three. Colon means (:). So doesn't that mean tri+ colon= tricolon= ::: ? It would, perhaps, if this was math lesson. But it is not (thank Allah) this is a rhetoric lesson and if you're looking for logic in rhetoric, it's sad to say that you probably won't find much. However, what you will find in rhetoric in startling abundance is tricolon!

So let's define it. What the hell is tricolon?
A rhetorical term for a series of three parallel words, phrases, or clauses. 

Okay, you may be like...okay, what did that mean? So let me give you a few of my favorite examples!

1. "We cannot dedicate -- we cannot consecrate -- we cannot hallow..." - Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address 

2. Romeo loves hard, fights poorly, and dies young.

3. Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I will learn” – Benjamin Franklin

Also, Obama is notorious for his use of tricolon, in one speech alone he used it twenty-two times!Here is a great article concerning his use of tricolon in that speech. You can read it or not. But it will only assist you in your quest to conquering tricolon.

Okay, for our final thing about tricolon, we must distinguish that there are three types. There is the standard tricolon where each part of the parallel phrases are equal, and then there are the ascending and descending tricolons.
Ascending Tricolon( tricolon crescens): the words increase with each new part of the tricolon. 
Descending Tricolon(tricolon diminuens): the words lessen with each new part of the tricolon. 

Okay, now that you know what tricolon is and have read a article (hopefully) about it's effectiveness for Obama, try it out! 

Assignment: Write a paragraph of rhetoric using tricolon effectively and post it below! The person with the best paragraph will be hailed as the Conquistador of Tricolon! 

It's time to say goodbye for now my toddies! Have a great day, and keep writing! 


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Camille Corbett
Camille Corbett

Marietta, GA

I'm a 21 year old Fulbright ETA writing to kill the time and find my sanity. I have been gone for a while. But I have returned, so watch out for some new stories.