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  • 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

  • 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.

Hi. My name is Rebecca, and in today's lesson, you'll have a chance to learn a very powerful

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Improve your English with the "Magic of 3"

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    Zenn posted on 2013/09/27
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