Tricolon Tactics: Crafting Memorable Speeches with Rhetorical Devices

rhetorical devices : tricolon

Crafting a powerful speech is an art, and one of the key tools that speakers use to leave a lasting impact is the use of a rhetorical device: the tricolon. In this exploration, we’re going to dive into the artistry behind the tricolon, understand what rhetorical devices are all about, figure out how to use them effectively, witness a compelling example, and wrap it up by reflecting on their crucial role in the art of speech.

  1. What Is Tricolon?
  2. How To Make A Tricolon Sentence For Your Own Speech.
  3. Famous Tricolon Examples That Ever Existed.
  4. Example Of A Speech Using Rhetorical Devices: Tricolon Tactics.
  5. Different Rhetorical Devices.
  6. Ways To Craft Memorable Speeches With Rhetorical Devices. 
  7. Conclusion

What Is Tricolon?

Tricolon is a rhetorical term that refers to a series of three parallel elements, phrases, or clauses within a sentence or a sequence of sentences. This literary device is used for emphasis, creating a rhythmic and memorable structure. The repetition of the pattern helps draw attention to the ideas being presented, making them more impactful and persuasive.

Tricolon can take various forms, including three words, three phrases, or three clauses, and it is often used to highlight key points or to create a sense of balance and completeness in the expression. The use of tricolons is prevalent in speeches, literature, and other forms of persuasive writing. It contributes to the overall effectiveness of the communication by making the message more engaging and memorable for the audience.

How To Make A Tricolon Sentence For Your Own Speech.

A tricolon sentence is a rhetorical device that involves the repetition of words, phrases, or clauses in threes. This technique can add rhythm, emphasis, and a memorable quality to your speech. To create a tricolon sentence for your own speech, follow these steps:

STEP- 1: Choose a Theme or Message:

Decide on the main theme or message you want to convey in your speech. This could be a key idea, a call to action, or a memorable statement. Say for example, the theme is the joy of reading.

STEP-2: Identify Key Points:

Break down your message into three key points or subtopics. These should be related and support your overall theme. Break down the main theme into three key points or subtopics:

  1. Exploring New Worlds
  2. Imagination and Creativity
  3. Continuous Learning

STEP-3: Craft Parallel Structure:

Structure each point in a parallel manner. Use similar grammatical structures and patterns for each part of the tricolon to create a sense of balance. This helps in presenting the information in a clear and organized manner.

“Discovering the joys of reading involves exploring new worlds, embracing imagination and creativity, and engaging in continuous learning.”

STEP-4: Repeat Key Words or Phrases:

Repeat keywords or phrases at the beginning or end of each point to create the tricolon effect. The repetition should be deliberate and noticeable. Emphasize the central theme by repeating key words or phrases strategically. In this case, the repetition of “joys of reading,” “exploring,” “imagination and creativity,” and “continuous learning” reinforces the core message.

“Discovering the joys of reading involves exploring new worlds, embracing imagination and creativity, and engaging in continuous learning.”

STEP-5: Vary Word Choice:

While repeating key elements, try to vary your word choice to maintain interest and avoid sounding repetitive. Use synonyms or different forms of the same word. Synonyms like “pleasures,” “delving into,” and “embarking on a journey” add variety while conveying the intended meaning.

“Exploring the pleasures of reading includes delving into new worlds, letting your imagination run wild, and embarking on a journey of continuous discovery.”

STEP-6: Consider Rhythm and Flow:

Pay attention to the rhythm and flow of your sentence. Ensure that it is easy to follow and has a natural cadence. This will make your tricolon more engaging. The additional sentence reinforces the idea that reading is not just a pastime but a source of joy and knowledge.

“Exploring the pleasures of reading includes delving into new worlds, letting your imagination run wild, and embarking on a journey of continuous discovery. Through the pages of a book, we find not only stories but a gateway to endless joy and knowledge.”

Remember, the tricolon is like your special move. Don’t overdo it; sprinkle it where it matters most. Now, go out there and let your words dance!

Famous Tricolon Examples That Ever Existed.

1. Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay

“Dirge Without Music” by Edna St. Vincent Millay is a poem that doesn’t strictly follow the tricolon structure, but it has elements of repetition and parallelism. The poem explores themes of death and the poet’s desire for a simple, unceremonious farewell. Here’s an excerpt that has a tricolon-like structure:

” Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;

Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.”

2. President Barack Obama’s Speech at the Memorial Service for Nelson Mandela

President Barack Obama’s speech at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in December 2013 included powerful rhetorical elements, but it didn’t strictly adhere to the tricolon structure. However, it did feature instances of repetition and parallelism. Here’s an excerpt that captures some of those elements:

“Let us search for his largeness of spirit somewhere inside of ourselves. And when the night grows dark, when injustice weighs heavy on our hearts, when our best-laid plans seem beyond our reach, let us think of Madiba and the words that brought him comfort within the four walls of his cell.”

3. Chance for Peace Speech by Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Chance for Peace” speech, delivered on April 16, 1953, during his presidency, sought to address the rising tensions of the Cold War and the arms race. Here is an excerpt highlighting some elements of tricolon:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone.”

4. Winston Churchill’s famous speech “We shall fight on the beaches”

Winston Churchill’s famous speech, delivered on June 4, 1940, during World War II, contains a powerful example of a tricolon. In this speech, Churchill declared, “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

Check the time stamp 4: 40 seconds for Tricolons.

Example Of A Speech Using Rhetorical Devices: Tricolon Tactics.

Here’s a tricolon excerpt from a fictional speech on the theme of perseverance and achievement:

“Ladies and gentlemen, today we celebrate not just the culmination of hard work, but the triumph of spirit, the strength of determination, and the power of resilience. In the face of adversity, we persevered, we adapted, and we overcame. Our journey has been marked by challenges, growth, and ultimate success. We stood together, fought together, and emerged not just victorious but transformed. This is a testament to the human spirit—to the indomitable will that propels us forward, the unwavering courage that sustains us, and the unyielding perseverance that defines us.”

Different Rhetorical Devices.

Rhetorical devices are linguistic and stylistic techniques used by writers and speakers to enhance their communication and make their language more persuasive, engaging, and memorable. These devices are employed to create specific effects or evoke certain emotions in the audience. Here are some common types of rhetorical devices:


This figure of speech involves an implied comparison between two unlike things, stating that one thing is another. It’s a powerful way to create vivid imagery and convey complex ideas through familiar terms.


Similar to a metaphor, a simile compares two different things using the words “like” or “as.” This device is effective in making descriptions more relatable and adding nuance to comparisons.


The repetition of initial consonant sounds in a series of words creates a rhythmic and memorable effect. Alliteration is often used in poetry and slogans to enhance the musicality of language.


The repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses or sentences emphasizes key ideas and creates a rhythmic cadence. It’s a technique commonly employed in speeches to build momentum.


Similar to anaphora, epiphora involves the repetition of a word or phrase at the end of successive clauses or sentences. This device can create a sense of closure and emphasize a central theme.


Exaggeration for emphasis or effect, not meant to be taken literally. Hyperbole is a tool that adds intensity to language and often contributes to a more dramatic or humorous tone.


Giving human qualities to non-human entities or abstract concepts. This device helps make the abstract more relatable and adds depth to descriptions.

Rhetorical Question:

A question is asked for effect or to make a point, not necessarily expecting a direct answer. Rhetorical questions engage the audience and encourage them to reflect on the speaker’s message.


The use of similar grammatical structures or patterns to create balance and rhythm in a sentence. Parallelism adds clarity, symmetry, and a sense of coherence to written and spoken language.


The use of words that imitate the sound they describe. Onomatopoeia brings a sensory and auditory dimension to language, making descriptions more vivid.


A reference to a well-known person, event, or work of art to evoke certain ideas or emotions. Allusions add layers of meaning by tapping into cultural, historical, or literary references.


The substitution of a mild or less direct expression for one that might be harsh or blunt. Euphemisms are employed to soften the impact of sensitive or unpleasant information, often in a polite or tactful manner.

Rhetorical devices are versatile tools used in literature, speeches, advertising, and everyday communication to add flair, emphasis, and persuasion to language. Writers and speakers strategically employ these devices to influence the audience’s perception and enhance the overall impact of their message.

Ways To Craft Memorable Speeches With Rhetorical Devices.

Crafting memorable speeches involves the strategic use of rhetorical devices: tricolons to engage, persuade, and leave a lasting impact on the audience. Here are ways to incorporate these devices effectively:

1. Understand Your Audience:

Conduct thorough research to understand your audience’s demographics, interests, and values. Identify shared experiences or concerns that can be addressed through relatable rhetorical devices.

2. Establish a Clear Purpose:

Clearly articulate the main message or goal of your speech. Are you informing, persuading, entertaining, or a combination of these? Align your rhetorical devices with your overarching purpose to ensure coherence.

3. Use Simplicity and Clarity:

Break down complex ideas into simpler, digestible concepts. Rhetorical devices can enhance understanding without sacrificing clarity. Focus on the message you want your audience to retain, and use devices to reinforce those key points.

4. Tell Compelling Stories:

Develop stories that resonate emotionally with your audience. Use metaphors and similes to create vivid imagery. Craft a narrative that builds tension, and curiosity, and ultimately delivers a memorable takeaway.

5. Create a Strong Opening:

Consider starting with a rhetorical question that provokes thought or a powerful quote that sets the tone. Establish a personal connection with your audience early on by addressing shared interests or concerns.

6. Utilize Repetition for Emphasis:

Choose carefully what you repeat for emphasis, ensuring it aligns with your speech’s central theme. Use repetition sparingly to avoid redundancy, focusing on reinforcing pivotal ideas.

7. Build Logical Structures:

Organize your speech with clear introductions, body, and conclusions, employing devices like parallelism to enhance structure. Create a logical progression of ideas, making it easier for the audience to follow your argument.

8. Invoke Imagery and Sensory Language:

Appeal to the audience’s senses by incorporating descriptive language, metaphors, and similes. Encourage visualization and emotional engagement through language that paints a vivid mental picture.

9. Incorporate Humor and Wit:

Tailor your humor to the preferences and sensibilities of your audience. Use devices like irony or clever wordplay to infuse humor without detracting from your message.

10. Employ Rhetorical Questions:

Pose questions that stimulate critical thinking and invite the audience to reflect on the subject. Use rhetorical questions strategically to guide the audience toward specific insights or conclusions.

11. Close with Impact:

Summarize key points reinforcing your central message. End with a rhetorical flourish or a poignant statement that lingers in the minds of your audience.

12. Practice Delivery:

Rehearse your speech multiple times to refine your timing, pacing, and delivery of rhetorical devices. Pay attention to non-verbal cues, ensuring your gestures and expressions align with the tone and content of your speech.

13. Seek Feedback:

Share your speech with peers or mentors and seek constructive feedback on the effectiveness of your rhetorical devices. Be open to refining your approach based on the insights and perspectives of others.

Check this out for more information-

By incorporating these strategies into your speechwriting and delivery process, you can harness the full potential of rhetorical devices to create impactful and memorable presentations.


In the world of effective communication, tricolons, and rhetorical devices act like skilled artists, enhancing speeches and transforming them into memorable pieces. We’ve taken a journey to understand what tricolons are, unraveled the rich tapestry of rhetorical devices, learned to create speeches that truly resonate, and even seen a vibrant example in action. As speakers, let’s continue to use these tools with finesse, weaving speeches that stay with our audience long after the applause fades – a true masterpiece in the realm of human connection.

Dive into a captivating world of knowledge and discovery! Explore now with this link. 

Enroll in our transformative
1:1 Coaching Program

Schedule a call with our expert communication coach to know if this program would be the right fit for you

Scroll to Top