Study of Threes
Introductory page 1...

~ The Study of Threes ~

This is one of many different types of introductory information that may be used in a discussion concerning the study-of-Threes. True to form, it should necessarily embody three representative, albeit generalized (overlapping information) models:

  1. Introductory page 1 (Undergraduate, Bachelors section) is for the beginner; those who have never encountered "threes" thinking as a topic of discussion nor means of compiling information for any general or specific interest. However, this does not in any way diminish someone's ability, quantitatively or qualitatively, to provide a contribution. Those of us who have been around the "threes" perspective for awhile, know all too well that we can easily overlook even the most obvious examples. If you see a three then say it, or compile it in a fashion that you can share with us. We are quite receptive to those wishing to share their views.
  2. Introductory page 2 (Graduate, Masters section) is for those who are aware of the "threes" existence and may have begun to compile their own list of three-part examples that may or may not be commensurate with a specific threes research topic. In some instances, such threes collecting may be a from-time-to-time hobby. The "Masters" reference is not intended to describe a type and level of University Degree, but a concentrated review of others research, that may or may not lead to extensive independently creative (original) research.
  3. Introductory page 3 (Post Graduate, Ph.D. section) is not meant to be comprehensive, only a sketch of selectively chosen research interests. With this said, it must be emphasized that there are other interests in this same field just as are there varieties in any field of study. Such interests may not directly involve a personalized compilation of "threes" examples, but they nonetheless acknowledge the recurrence and are cognizant of the proclivity as a contemplatable consideration, if not concern, when analyzing the data of their specific focus. The "Ph.D." reference is not intended to describe a type and level of University Degree, but a seriousness of independent (original) research of material that may, in some instances, become applied to efforts directly related to a Ph.D. effort.

For the beginner, permit me to list a few examples of "threes" by way of categories:


  • Three basic parts to insects: Head- Thorax- Abdomen

  • Three basic rock formations: Igneous- Metamorphic- Sedimentary

  • Three basic sections to the Earth: Core- Mantle- Crust

  • Three basic parts to the atom: Electrons- Neutrons- Protons

  • RNA and DNA use triplet codon (coding) Systems

  • Proteins have a Primary- Secondary- Tertiary structure with a composite of these three called the Quaternary.


  • Three ships of Christopher Columbus: Nina- Pinta- Santa Maria

  • Three cornered hats worn by early American Colonists

  • Single- Double- Triple masted ships used by early European explorers/merchants

  • King George the Third was the King of England before, during and after the American Revolution.

  • With respect to "threes" thinking, it is considered a possibility that a Third World War is inevitable. What shape and manner it takes place, is still up for debate.

  • It is claimed that by sheer "coincidence" all horses registered in the Stud books of the entire world are descended from one of three great stallions:

    1. Goldophin Barb

    2. Byerly Turk

    3. Darley Arabian

    and that these three were survived in a direct line descendance by:

    1. Matchem

    2. King Herod

    3. Eclipse

    For the more enlightened reader: it should be noted that although the breeding of horses has produced some fine results defined by criteria of realized outcomes, it is not typically done as a magnanimous gesture for the sake of one or another horse breed. Thus, in most cases, the rational employed is due to economic reasons: Financial gain for stud (breeding) services and the potential financial gain when a horse reaches an age of greatest exploitation such as for racing purposes. However, the end result is that a limitation of eventual ability is reached or there are mi-nute gains that are frequently over-valued due to being obscured by histrionic emotionalism. In other words, there is little else to be realized or achieved not only because the typical horse breeder can not think outside the parameters of their own interests, they do not generally exhibit an appreciation of altruistic enterprising for all horses everywhere. Characteristically, horsemen and horsewomen do not have a collective sense for pooling their resources in order to breed a future breed of horses because their thinking is often limited by for-the-moment personal economic and ego-nomic purposes. In order for horses as a race to progress beyond anything living today, the thinking processes of horse-interested-individuals must drastically change. In a sense, it must go through a selective breeding process of maturation itself. With this acknowledged, an analogy to the human condition is sometimes forthcoming either in the form of a rational discussion, irrational contemplations assessed through a tunnel-vision lined by images of failed eugenics programs, or creative meditative excursions of considerations that may eventually be put into practice.

    Continuing with more basic threes examples:

  • The Horse's hoof is the result of three bones having fused together.

  • It is said that the American Wild West was won not by the Pistol, not by the Rifle, but by the Shotgun.

The Human Body:

  • Three Trimesters: human female pregnancy
  • Three (teeth) molars: We have 1st- 2nd- 3rd molars
  • Three layers of skin: Dermis- Epidermis- Subcutaneous tissue
  • The Three layers of skin correspond to 1st, 2nd, 3rd degree burns
  • Three eye glasses: monofocal- and/or bifocal- and/or trifocal
  • Three sections to the ear: Outer- Middle- Inner
  • Three joints to arms: Shoulder- Elbow- Wrist
  • Three joints to legs: Hip- Knee- Ankle

American Eating commonalities:

  • Three eating utensils: Knife- Fork- Spoon

  • Three recognized (not necessarily practiced) daily meals: Breakfast- Lunch/Dinner- Supper

  • Three breakfast meat options: Bacon- Ham- Sausage

  • Three breakfast bread options: Toast- Biscuit- Muffin

  • Three breakfast bread spread options: Jam/Jelly/Marmalade (preserve)- Honey- Butter/margarine

  • Three breakfast delight options: Pancakes- Waffles- French toast

  • Three frequently used optional toppings for the three delights: Honey- Maple syrup- Butter/margarine

  • Three fastfood combo-meal categories: Drink- Sandwich/hamburger- Fries/pie

  • Three traditional ice cream flavors: Vanilla- Chocolate- Strawberry


  • Three University Degrees: Bachelors- Masters- Ph.D..

  • Three sentence ending punctuations: Period- Question Mark- Exclamation point

  • Nouns are generally recognized as Persons- Places- Things

  • Stories have a Beginning- Middle- Ending, Title- Body- Conclusion

  • Three grading significations: A(+) A() A(-)

  • Three customary test types: Multiple choice- True/False- Expository paragraph

  • Three fingers: many people hold a pen or pencil with three fingers (two fingers and a thumb)

  • Three traditional ways to look up a book or other materials in a library: Author- Title- Subject


  • Three faces of playing cards: King, Queen, Jack.

  • Baseball: 1st- 2nd- 3rd base (There is no numerically designated "4th" base. The so-called forth base is labeled with words such as Home plate or Home base.)

  • Basketball: 1- 2- 3-point shot variations

  • Three medals used in Olympic games: Gold- Silver- Bronze

  • Triple Crown of Horse Racing: Preakness- Belmont stakes- Kentucky Derby

  • Three typical horse race betting categories: Win- Place- Show


  • Extra-terrestrial beings (aliens) are sometimes described as having some exceptional characteristic such as a third eye, third ear, third sense, and their space craft have been depicted as having three windows, three landing support structures, three lights and fly in three-ship "V-shaped" formations, etc...

  • There are said to be three Great Pyramids on the Giza Plateau.

  • The Stone Henge circle is said to have been configured with multiple three-stone emplacements set side-by-side (two side stones and one cap stone).

  • Crop circles are typically found in fields containing plants used for consumption (hence, the word "crop" in Crop Circle). These plants have a 3-chromosome configuration.

  • Clothing sizes in America are customarily labeled Small- Medium- Large, or X-large, XX-large, XXX-large.

  • Public laundry mats in America frequently have Single load- Double load- Triple load capacity washers.


  • Microphone Testing: Testing One- Two- Three

  • Songs that have three-part repetitions are said to have a "hook"

  • Western-styled music is said to consist of triads (triadic structural formulas)

  • Basic popular-band guitar assortment: Lead- Rhythm- Base

Superstitions/Urban Legends

  • Death occurs in threes (Frequently spoken of when 3 Celebrities die successively)

  • Third times the charm (Two previous attempts may have been unlucky or less lucky)

  • Don't light three cigarettes with one match (World War 1 trench fighting view in order to prevent a sniper from getting a bead [location] on you.)

  • 888 are the three numbers representing Jesus derived from numerological considerations of his name.
  • 666 are the three numbers representing the anti-Christ based on numerological considerations of alphabetic association. (As in most cases, the letters in a person's name become associated with numbers that are arranged "deductively" by reducing the letters to the lowest common denominator. Whereby the letter A is 1, the letter B is two, the letter C is three and so forth. When the value of "10" is reached, the 1 + 0 = 1. Different alphabets are arranged according to their own numerological scheme.)
  • 555 are three numbers related to Hitler (he was actually member #55 but the German party to which he joined wanted it to appear as if it had a larger following. It is of interest for some readers to note that in America, a typical highway speed is 55 miles an hour. This correlation has attributive cultural meaning for those "into" symbolic numerological considerations.)


  • Typically, there are three different versions of chain driven "pedal-cycles": unicycles- bicycles- tricycles. (However, there are also variations of vehicular models such as those fashioned like a car, carriage, wagon, horse buggy, truck, sedan, fire engine, etc...)

  • Motorcycle drive mechanisms can be either a chain, belt, or drive-shaft.

  • Three engine types for air/spacecraft: Solid fuel spacecraft engines- Liquid fuel jet engines- Liquid fuel airplane engines

  • Three common automobile gasoline types: Premium Unleaded (89 octane)- Midgrade unleaded (87 octane)- Low cost Unleaded (85 octane)


  • Albert Einstein's famous 3-part equation: Energy equals Mass times the Speed of Light squared.
  • Ronald Reagan, who was governor of California during the height of the hippie movement, described a hippie as a person who (1) dresses like Tarzan, (2) has hair like Jane, and (3) smells like Cheeta.
  • I've been there, I've done that, I got the T-shirt.
  • -I Love You-, -Home Sweet Home-, -What's Happening Man?-, -Be Cool Fool-.
  • Tell the truth, the Whole truth, (and) Nothing but the truth.
  • Believe me, you (or Believe you, me)
  • Between You, Me and the Fence Post.
  • Up tight, Outasight, and In the Groove. (Like a tampon).
  • A squared plus B squared equals C squared.
  • A government Of the people, By the people, For the people... (A part of a phrase from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg address. He got this phrase from the American preacher and abolitionist Theodore Parker who actually said "a government of ALL the people, by ALL the people, for ALL the people.") Perhaps Lincoln was unconsciously expressing an underlying political view established by America's fore-fathers in which he thought "the people" meant a select minority... a widespread feeling amongst many business professionals, clerics, and politicians who see the majority as a means by which they can achieve personal ends for themselves and/or the organization to which they selectively choose to advocate with supreme primacy of purpose, though most of them would claim this statement erroneous... but the state of current affairs says otherwise. We got where we are because of widespread personalized forms of greed being expressed and practiced by those in governing positions in various sectors of society.

Fairy Tales/Rhymes:

  • Three little Pigs
  • Three Bears
  • Three Billy goats gruff
  • Cinderella- Drisella- Anastasia
  • Winkyen- Blinken- Nod
  • Three Blind Mice
  • Three Kittens who lost their mittens
  • Old King Cole and his Fiddlers three
  • Three magic beans of Jack and the Bean Stalk
  • Three notes played by Pied Piper
  • Three attempts to guess his name: Rumplestiltskin
  • Humpty Dumpty is mentioned three times in the rhyme

The foregoing list is a paltry sum of the many examples that can be offered under different headings. For those of you who do not know anything about the "realm of threes", much less the varied Research interests of those involved with this particular pursuit, let me encourage and direct you to first review examples of "threes" at the following widely acknowledged Preeminent Source, whose author deserves a standing ovation for his commitment:

So what's the big deal with this so-called "threes" business anyway?

The heading of this paragraph may be the questioning statement some readers emphatically and objectionably announce with a degree of disdainful contempt at viewing such a foregoing (threes) list of everyday knowledge that most people take for granted. Indeed, what is so particularly important about this numerically-based tool of referencing when those in objection might additionally suggest they could make a similar list involving patterns-of-two or some other quantity such as four, five or seven.

...You won't get any argument from the Threes Community on this point. We all agree that many people could make up their own collection of examples advocating an other-than-three particular pattern (numerical or otherwise), but most people don't. In fact, coherent lists of examples amongst most people may be limited to a wall-board (or slip of paper placed beneath a magnet on a refrigerator) that contains:


Such as mow the lawn, rake the leaves, fix the plumbing, get a haircut, rent a tux, call the baby sitter, Clean Fish Tank, etc...


with respect to household goods and items such as food, building materials, car parts, pet supplies, etc...


A mnemonic ruler to remind us about a formalized, routinely-attended-to weekly event schedule such as involving appointments, a sports meet, exercising workout, recitals, get-togethers, meetings, parties, (show-n-tell cosmetics, plastic ware, household goods), etc...

Other types of "collecting similarities" may be relegated to particular coupons for making a purchase, newspaper articles to be kept or shown to someone else, clothing articles, music, magazines, books, and various other patterns that may never reach a written form of cataloguing.

Other types of "collecting similarities" may be relegated to particular coupons for making a purchase, newspaper articles to be kept or shown to someone else, clothing articles, music, magazines, books, and various other patterns that may never reach a written form of cataloguing.

Other items may be more emphacized by BOLDNESS, or attendant symbolism such as for example:

a star star shape

an asterisk asterisk symbol

an arrow arrow shape

a check mark check mark symbol

circle object

color highlights

box-like or rectangular structureor something can acquire contextual importance by being underlined, or placed in a singularly important position/place on a list with some sort of preferential ranking scheme:

FEED THE DOG (or you may be its next meal)
Take Out The (Phew) Garbage
Change underwear and socks
Study! Study! Study!
(The test is on Friday!)

In fact, some people think that the practiced ability of mentally tabulating a list of phone numbers, addresses, birthdays, business contacts, and the like, is an indication of a unique one-of-a-kind form of memorization if not intellectual ability. Generally, they pat themselves on the back if they can convince someone that what they do is an uncommon human attribute, unrealizing that others think of themselves in a similar manner for their own kind of mentally listed information. While this is not to say that their ability to practice the memorization of a lengthy list of information is not unique or advantageous in particular circumstances, it must be recognized as being substantially different than a written list of information intended for a research project such as the cataloguing of one's family history, and certainly that which is being discussed herein. Such distinctions should be acknowledged and detailed in order that they not be used to describe omissions admitting to negligence in our otherwise sincere attempts to be as instructively broad as we advocate or a present list impressively attempts to convey.

Those of us in the "Threes Research Community" would agree that many people could (though only a very few would) begin to list examples with other singular number references, but their efforts will most likely fail when compared to a listing of threes. The recurrence and usage of three-patterned examples appears to be predominant, but not in every instance. We know this for a fact because in our endeavors to collect threes, we have encountered other number pattern examples that at first appearance pronounce themselves to be quite profound, but typically end with an abrupt silence with a small or negligible trace after an initial declaration of providing a list of examples. However, no matter how short the list, it may nonetheless exemplify the dominance of an other-than-three number pattern in a given context when taken as a separate, isolated instance, though several such "isolated instances" may be available for listing. Nonetheless, when compared to a broader listing of threes, they pale in comparison.

For the beginner, if your curiosity is piqued at this point beyond the momentary "that's interesting" diversion, than I suggest you proceed to page 2 of the Introductory assortment, where the discussion begins to become a little more involved.

Page initially created: Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014, 11:46 AM
Page re-posted: Sunday, 12th May 2019... 5:35 AM
Your Questions, Comments or Additional Information are welcomed:
Herb O. Buckland