Rule of Three

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Mon Feb 9 14:08:29 UTC 2004


I'm not so sure this is separate. If so, the cross-fertilization is
rampant. Look at

defense, defense, defense

which is surely both "The most important thing in this game is"


"How can we win this game?"

(In deference to Alice, only 1700 or so hits for defense; far below
her practice hits.)


>On Feb 8, 2004, at 6:28 PM, Alice Faber wrote:
>>Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
>>> any case, there's a formula here:
>>>   The three most important Xs in Y are: Z, Z, Z.
>>>(conveying something like 'the only really important X in Y is Z').
>>Would you include in the same trope "practice, practice, practice"
>>(as in, "how do you get to Carnegie Hall?")?
>my intuition is that this is a separate figure ("eat, eat, eat"), but
>there's probably been some cross-fertilization here.
>arnold (zwicky at

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic,
        Asian and African Languages
Wells Hall A-740
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027 USA
Office: (517) 353-0740
Fax: (517) 432-2736

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