Why Do Politicians Talk In Threes? Or: What Is Rhetoric?


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Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
Originally, rhetoric is the art of public, in particular persuasive, speech-making, and was first developed in Ancient Greece. We all hear or use a range of rhetorical devices every day without thinking. Some of the most common are the rhetorical question ("Do you want the best for your children?") where the listener's agreement is taken for granted; the "list of three" ("education, education, education"); and the threat of disaster ("If party X comes to power, the economy will collapse.") Also common are hyperbole or exaggeration, often used jokingly ("I've told you a million times…") and its opposite, litotes, in which you imply what something is by stating what it is not. For example, you might imply something is easy by saying, "It's not exactly rocket science."
Many features of speech that we all use, such as irony, sarcasm and even something as simple as repetition ("Please, please, please help us…") are all rhetorical devices which can be studied and used to deliberate effect.

Jay Anderson Profile
Jay Anderson answered
This is a very important number to humans. Look at the Christian Godhead, the pyramid and in the motto for most organizations all come in threes. Jesus was crucified as part of 3. The 3 little pigs, 3 bears etc. It is a number that most can pay attention to. Think, "Read my lips... NO NEW TAXES" three words.

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