The Rule of Threes
March 26, 2010 3:01 PM   Subscribe

What are some things that come in threes?

I'm giving an assignment to my English class to write about things that come in threes. Any three-part grouping is game. For example: Manny, Moe, and Jack; Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii; The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly; Republicans, Democrats, and Independents; and so on.

Humanities, business, politics, science... anything is game. Any suggestions?
posted by hpliferaft to Grab Bag (89 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Celebrity deaths always seem to eerily fit the Rule of Threes.
posted by deacon_blues at 3:04 PM on March 26, 2010


My first though was tennis balls, but I guess that's now what you're looking for here. So....

Truth, justice, and the American way
Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry (Neapolitan ice cream)
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Tic Tac Toe
Red, white, and blue
The Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria
Larry, Moe, and Curly
Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 3:07 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Marx Brothers (Zeppo doesn't count.)
posted by mollymayhem at 3:07 PM on March 26, 2010




Judicial Branch, Executive Branch, Legislative Branch
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
posted by sallybrown at 3:09 PM on March 26, 2010


What are some things that come in threes?

Blind mice.
posted by three blind mice at 3:10 PM on March 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


Celebrity deaths. Unfortunately, it's a myth.

Oh, and then there's this site.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:11 PM on March 26, 2010


Not sure if this suits your purposes, but William Dillard's quote played on the Rule of Threes, saying that the three most important things about real estate are "location, location, location".
posted by mireille at 3:11 PM on March 26, 2010


Rock, paper, scissors.

There is saying in German, "Aller guten Dinge sind drei."
It is comparable to the English phrase, "Third time is a charm."
posted by chillmost at 3:13 PM on March 26, 2010


The comedy Rule of Three, of course!
posted by xil at 3:14 PM on March 26, 2010


The Fates
posted by Skot at 3:14 PM on March 26, 2010


Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
posted by shinyshiny at 3:20 PM on March 26, 2010


Me, Myself and I.
posted by kirstk at 3:22 PM on March 26, 2010


Rum, Bum and Baccy (as my old nan loved to say)
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:23 PM on March 26, 2010


Wine, Women and Song
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:24 PM on March 26, 2010


Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:24 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Reading, Writing and 'Rithmatic
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:25 PM on March 26, 2010


Protons, neutrons, and electrons.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:25 PM on March 26, 2010


Rock, paper, scissors.
posted by reductiondesign at 3:25 PM on March 26, 2010


If you interested in the use of threes in the construction of sentences, the word to search for is Tricolon.

And having seen this AskMe question earlier, I have to suggest humans, angels, and djini/jinn/genie.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 3:25 PM on March 26, 2010


There were five Marx Brothers.

Membera of rap groups? RunDMC, Beastie Boys, De La Soul?
posted by elsietheeel at 3:26 PM on March 26, 2010


I've just been putting the central dogma into my thesis so DNA, RNA and proteins. Of course there are all kinds of other things in real life (metabolites and stuff).

I also once wrote an essay about the three forms of dwarfism caused by mutations in the FGFR3 gene (increasing in severity): hypochondroplasia, achondroplasia and thanatophoric dysplasia. Possibly a bit grim for a class though.

Less technical: animal, vegetable, mineral. Peter, Paul and Mary. Triplets come in threes by definition and musical trios also (e.g string trio: violin, viola, cello).
posted by shelleycat at 3:26 PM on March 26, 2010




Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:26 PM on March 26, 2010


The Three Little Pigs
The Three Caballeros
The Three Faces of Eve
posted by amyms at 3:27 PM on March 26, 2010


Three wise monkeys: See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
posted by barnone at 3:27 PM on March 26, 2010


Red, Yellow, Green (on a stoplight).
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:27 PM on March 26, 2010


Stooges, Wise Men, and Degrees
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:28 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


B.L.T.
posted by kirstk at 3:28 PM on March 26, 2010


This is English Class? Really google the rule of three and get tons of examples. Not just the three bears, but three is not just a number it is a limit. How many friends went with Frodo on his adventure? How many times did Romeo and Juliet meet before there deaths? How many parts can Gaul be divided into? The list is endless (peeps like threes, dude.)
posted by Some1 at 3:28 PM on March 26, 2010


On your mark, get set, go.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:29 PM on March 26, 2010


Oooh on par with breakfast lunch and dinner, there's also morning, noon and night.
posted by kirstk at 3:30 PM on March 26, 2010


Stewart, Andy, Sting

Neal, Alex, Geddy

Jimi, Mitch, Noel

Jimi, Buddy, Billy

Eric, Jack, Ginger

Emerson, Lake, Palmer

Weller, Foxton, Buckler

Boon, Watt, Hurley

Watt, Crawford, Hurley

Dave, Krist, Kurt

Curt, Cris, Derrick

Gordon, Brian, Victor

Bob, Greg, Grant
posted by The World Famous at 3:32 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


hamsters, cages and those little metal wheels? (sorry..i've been sick/sleeping all day and i'm now at that point where everything is kind of heavy and hard to think about...but this question made me laugh, so i wanted to contribute. i'll stop now).
posted by janepanic at 3:33 PM on March 26, 2010


Crush, kill, destroy.
posted by box at 3:34 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter, Ask Metafilter and Metatalk?
posted by beepbeepboopboop at 3:42 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]




Men, women and children.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

A burger, fries and a milkshake.

Friendship, Loyalty and Love.

The butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker.

Blood, sweat and tears.
posted by kirstk at 3:45 PM on March 26, 2010


Primary colors (there are many types, not just the most familiar red, blue, yellow)
posted by SuperSquirrel at 3:47 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Ramans do everything in threes.
posted by neuron at 4:00 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


there's the rule of thirds in composition for graphic design, paintings, and photography
posted by raw sugar at 4:07 PM on March 26, 2010


Three is a Magic Number
Didn't you watch cartoons on Saturday mornings in the 70's with the rest of us? Just kidding!
posted by emhutchinson at 4:07 PM on March 26, 2010


The Three Bears.
Three Blind Mice.
Three Billy Goats Gruff
Three Men in a Boat
An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman (and every other joke that starts in a similar way).
Every fairy story with two favoured but unpleasant siblings and one pleasant and illtreated one.
The Three Apples.
Three Sillies
The Ass, the Ox, and the Labourer.
The Fox, the Hare and the Cock.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Three stooges.
Three kings.
posted by emilyw at 4:13 PM on March 26, 2010


Lenin, Karl and Mao
posted by infinitewindow at 4:14 PM on March 26, 2010


Veni, vidi, vici.
posted by chatongriffes at 4:18 PM on March 26, 2010


Three men is a tub: the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker.

Faces of Eve.
posted by Linnee at 4:23 PM on March 26, 2010


Humans, Zerg, and Protoss.
posted by Balna Watya at 4:24 PM on March 26, 2010


The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
posted by yellowbinder at 4:24 PM on March 26, 2010


Cadbury Eggs come in 3 packs.
posted by Lord_Pall at 4:26 PM on March 26, 2010


The Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
posted by defreckled at 4:29 PM on March 26, 2010


Lock, stock and barrel.
posted by defreckled at 4:30 PM on March 26, 2010


Stop, drop and roll.
posted by defreckled at 4:30 PM on March 26, 2010


Mean, Median and Mode.
Beginning, Middle and End. (Also, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced)
Lions, Tigers and Bears.
Earth, Wind and Fire. (Also, Peter, Paul and Mary)
Sun, Sand and Sea.
Good thoughts, Good words, Good deeds.
Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.
The kingdom, the power, and the glory.
Id, Ego, and Superego.
Food, Clothing and Shelter.
Ready, Aim, Fire.
King, Queen, Jack.
Gold, Silver, Bronze.
Larry, his brother Darryl, and his other brother Darryl. (From Newhart.)
posted by kirstk at 5:03 PM on March 26, 2010


Snap, Krackle, Pop
Jack, Janet, Chrissy
Charlie's Angels
Gold, silver, bronze
Win, Place, Show
The Big Three: Chevy, Ford, Chrysler
Cash, check, or credit card
Hook, line, and sinker
Lions and tigers and bears (Oh my!)
Tinker to Evers to Chance
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
Abraham, Martin, and John
posted by SisterHavana at 5:06 PM on March 26, 2010


Huey, Louie & Dewey
posted by mikepop at 5:32 PM on March 26, 2010


three coins in a fountain
three laws of robotics
posted by mikepop at 5:34 PM on March 26, 2010


Kinder, Küche, Kirche
posted by Confess, Fletch at 5:38 PM on March 26, 2010


The Kingston Trio
posted by Confess, Fletch at 5:44 PM on March 26, 2010


Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego
posted by nicwolff at 5:46 PM on March 26, 2010


Good excuses for the word triplicate (forms) ... I like saying that word. Triplicate. I was convinced when reading the outside question that this was really just an excuse to find more reasons to say triplicate. Alas.
posted by Feantari at 5:59 PM on March 26, 2010


Billy goats.
posted by custard heart at 6:02 PM on March 26, 2010


Lynyard Skynyrd guitar solos!

DWEEDLE-deedle-deedle-deedle-deedle-dweedly-WAH-WAH-WAH-WAH!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:03 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


knives, forks, and spoons.
black, white, and grey
sloth toes
tricycle wheels
tripod legs
graces
Mercedes star (land, sea, and air)
guesses
ready, set, go
strikes
R's
up, up, and away
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:05 PM on March 26, 2010


yesterday, today, tomorrow
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:07 PM on March 26, 2010


Nona, Decima, Morta. The three fates

The three witches, used by Shakespeare (maiden, mother crone)

a Triptych

Heaven, earth, hell

-What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs at night

tripod

Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe


Lord of the Rings novels
posted by edgeways at 6:38 PM on March 26, 2010


The way, the truth, and the life
Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Relief, Recovery, Reform
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Crosby, Stills and Nash
Body, Mind, Spirit
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
posted by kirstk at 7:28 PM on March 26, 2010


Shit, shower and shave

Stool legs
posted by pianomover at 7:31 PM on March 26, 2010


Me and You and a Dog Named Boo
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:43 PM on March 26, 2010


oh, and apparently, (in related questions ----v) two introverts and a baby
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:44 PM on March 26, 2010


ABC
123
Do, Re, Mi
posted by naoko at 8:12 PM on March 26, 2010


No shirt no shoes no service
posted by naoko at 8:15 PM on March 26, 2010


Bart, Lisa, Maggie
posted by naoko at 8:15 PM on March 26, 2010


Lots of TV shows seem to center around couples with three kids, actually. Really random list:
Chris, Meg, and Stewie Griffin
Becky, Darlene, and DJ Conner
DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle Tanner
the three sons on Home Improvement
the Bartlets on West Wing have three daughters, although Zoey appears on the show much more than the others
the kids on Everybody Loves Raymond (minor characters though they are)
the kids on The Nanny (before she marries Mr Sheffield)
the Family Matters family (until they adopt another kid. also, before Urkel became the center of the show and everyone forgot about the Winslows anyway)
the Keatons on Family Ties
the Everybody Hates Chris family
posted by naoko at 8:33 PM on March 26, 2010


Three branches of the US government: Legislative, Executive, and the Judiciary.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:35 PM on March 26, 2010


Tennis: game, set, match
Baseball: 3 strikes
Genie: 3 wishes
Movies: lights, camera, action
Area: length, width, height
posted by yawper at 9:01 PM on March 26, 2010


Harry, Ron, Hermione
posted by naoko at 9:27 PM on March 26, 2010


hmmm...why don't you get creative and write about something that usually comes in pairs and only very very rarely in threes.

like nipples.

or testicles.
posted by sexyrobot at 9:38 PM on March 26, 2010


You might want to look at the trifunctional hypothesis of Georges Dumézil.
posted by gimonca at 9:41 PM on March 26, 2010


meenie, minie, moe
posted by deborah at 9:43 PM on March 26, 2010


Fuck, Marry, Kill
posted by nicwolff at 12:36 AM on March 27, 2010


Vaginal, oral, anal
posted by nicwolff at 12:38 AM on March 27, 2010


't', 'f', NULL
posted by nicwolff at 12:38 AM on March 27, 2010


AND, OR, NOT (boolean logic)
posted by polymodus at 2:34 AM on March 27, 2010


Yes, No, Maybe So
posted by polymodus at 2:41 AM on March 27, 2010


In the name of the former and of the latter and of their
holocaust.
posted by Pranksome Quaine at 7:19 AM on March 27, 2010


Pottery Barn and probably some other stores decorate in 3's. No more than 3 pillows on any sofa. All the desplays have 3 elements in them: i.e. vace, clock, picture frame.

Medications:
ABH - combo of ativan, benadryl and haldol.
ICE - Ifex, carboplatin, etoposide chemo regime.

Did someone already mention coffee: Tall, Grande, Venti or small medium large?

Schoolhouse Rock 3 is the magic number has some fun covers:
De La Soul 3 and Jeff Buckley for example.

Triple deities is interesting.
There's 3 witches in MacBeth.

Sorry if some of these are duplicated. or triplicates!
posted by dog food sugar at 7:38 AM on March 27, 2010


My parents, Ayn Rand and God.
posted by truex at 7:02 PM on March 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Barefoot, pregnant and in the Kitchen
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:58 AM on April 1, 2010




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