“Words with Partners” Part lll: Triplets

An encore of Glosso’s short series of posts about “words with partners,” first published in March 2019, continues with a look at linguistic triplets. 

They’re basically a triple-take on the Siamese twins discussed last week with the same identifying characteristics, i.e. three nouns, verbs or adjectives joined by and or or, and an immovable word order (“tears, sweat and blood” just doesn’t quite cut it). You’ll also see the comma splice in action here; you’ll know it when you see it.  This “linguistic trinomial” (which I prefer to think of as a wordy ménage à trois) is a very good example of the powerful “rule of three” in speech and writing, which was covered in an earlier Glosso post, “Celebrating the rule of three.”  Can you think of any more?

Animal, vegetable or mineral

Beg, borrow, or steal [I always thought it was “beg, steal or borrow, based on the New Seekers song I grew up with]

Blood, sweat and tears

Calm, cool, and collected [or is it Cool, calm and collected? Is this a British-American thing?]

Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve (or coulda, woulda, shoulda)

Ear, nose and throat

Eat, drink and be merry

Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Friends, Romans, countrymen

Good, bad and indifferent

The good, the bad and the ugly

Healthy, wealthy and wise

Here, there and everywhere

Hook, line and sinker

Lights, camera, action

Location, location, location [does this count?]

Hop, skip and a jump

I came, I saw, I conquered

(No) ifs, ands or buts

Judge, jury and executioner

Left, right and center

Lock, stock and barrel

Me, myself and I

Reading, writing and arithmetic

Ready, willing and able

Red, white and blue

Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll

Shake, rattle and roll

Short, sweet and to the point

Slips, trips and falls

Stop, look and listen

Sugar and spice and everything nice

Tall, dark and handsome

This, that and the other

Tom, Dick and Harry

Way, shape or form

Wynken, Blynken and Nod


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