Hi. My name is Rebecca, and in today’s lesson,
you’ll have a chance to learn a very powerful technique in English — a very powerful communication
technique. It’s called “The Magic of Three”. I’ll explain to you exactly what it is, but
first, let me give you some examples of the “Magic of Three”. You might have heard of
this expression by Julius Caesar. It was originally in Latin, but I’ll say it for you in English:
“I came. I saw. I conquered.” Similarly, modern times, Obama, in his inauguration speech said:
“We have a responsibility to ourselves, our nation, and our world.” Okay? See three there?
There’s another example by Ben Franklin. Some people also say this is a Chinese proverb:
“Tell me, and I forget. Teach me, and I remember. Involve me, and I learn.” Now, what all three
famous men here were doing was using what you’re going to learn how to use by the end
of this lesson, which is the “Magic of Three”. What is the “Magic of Three”? The “Magic of
Three” is a literary device, a literary technique, a rhetorical technique, which is used by leaders,
by politicians, by writers, by speakers, by orators to make the language come alive, to
give it more rhythm, to give it more power, to give it more detail. All right? And you
can learn how to do this. This is especially important if you’re preparing for an exam
like the TOEFL or the IELTS or anything in English, all right? You can use it in your
personal life. You can use it in your professional life. And you can use it in your academic
life, okay? So I’ll give you examples of all of these, and then you will see how easy it
is to start using this technique. Now, what are the advantages of using this
technique? Especially if you are an ESL student, well, if you give one example of something
like, “I enjoy reading”, well, it’s just one example. It shows you don’t have too many
ideas. And you also don’t have — you’re also not displaying too much vocabulary. If you
give two examples of something, it’s a little bit better, but if you give three examples,
it’s excellent. It shows not only that you can think of different ideas, but also that
you have the vocabulary — and extensive vocabulary — to express those ideas, but just because
of time limitations, you’re not going on and on, giving hundreds of examples. Three examples
sounds like you have lots of ideas, but you’re just restricting it for the purpose, all right?
Let’s look at some of the examples on the board so you can learn how to do this.
In personal life you could say, “I enjoy reading, dancing, and travelling.” All right? Three
examples. “She loves roses, tulips, and daisies.” “They serve Italian, Chinese, and Indian food.”
Now, you will see another grammatical principle at work here. I hope you see it. And what
is that? When I said, “reading, dancing, travelling”, what was common about those three words? They
are all gerunds, right? So not only do you need to give three examples, but you need
to give three examples in the same form of speech. Same here: “roses, tulips, daisies”
— three nouns. “Italian, Chinese, Indian” — three adjectives. All right? So remember
that principle, too. There is also another related principle called “parallelism”, which
you — which talks about the same principle, okay? Let’s continue.
In your professional life, you could say, “The job requires hard work, long hours, and
organizational skills.” Now, here you see not just one word being repeated, but a pattern
of words, right? Adjective-noun, adjective-noun, adjective-noun. So if you do that, try to
keep that consistency, all right? Don’t say, “The job requires hard work, long hours, and
organization”, because then, you’ve lost the parallelism; you’ve lost the Magic of Three;
you’ve lost the rhythm, okay? So remember that, as well. In this — these examples have been taken,
in fact, from some TOEFL essays. These are various TOEFL topics that had been given in
previous exams. One was about success. Let’s see how we could write it. “To some, success
means fancy cars, huge mansions, and luxurious holidays.” By using an adjective and a noun,
you’re showing off — you’re showing the examiner, “I have lots of vocabulary available, and
I’m going to show you. Here it is.” All right? Excellent idea in an exam to write this way.
“My opinion is based on social, cultural, and financial reasons.” See? Three examples
— very powerful, very strong. “This policy will have local, national, and international
implications.” All right? See how well that — how good that sounds? How well it flows?
And also, here what’s happening is you’re starting with something small, which is the
word “local”, and getting bigger: local, national, international — also another technique. So
along with three, sometimes we go from small, medium, large. You can also do that. Lots
of different techniques that you can use here, but whatever you do, start using the Magic
of Three when you’re speaking, but especially when you’re writing. It will make a tremendous
difference to your writing if you’re appearing for an exam, you will definitely get higher
marks. As a teacher who has corrected thousands of essays, I can tell you the students who
use this technique always get higher marks, all right? So start doing it today. Start
thinking in terms of threes, and you will be on your way to communicating more effectively
in English. If you’d like to practice this some more,
then please go to our website at www.engvid.com. There, you’ll find a quiz on this subject.
And if you enjoyed this lesson, please subscribe to my channel on YouTube, all right? Good
luck with your English, and thanks for watching.