The Grumpy Grammarian

Why Size Really Does Matter With Copywriting

The Rule of Three is everywhere. There are many ways to use this rule in your writing.

One way is called Hendiatris. (Not to be confused with a medical condition.) This principle uses three words that work together to convey a single concept. It’s especially useful for advertising slogans and speechwriting.

And the United States Armed Forces combined the Rule of Three with sentence fragments to increase enrollment in one branch of its military.

The Few. The Proud. The Marines. – U.S. Marine Corps.

3, two-word sentences back-to-back? Tisk. Tisk.

The grammar rule says that a good, simple sentence should have at least a subject and a predicate. However, once again the rules have been broken to create a phrase with impact.

It’s super memorable, and therefore, highly compelling.

Just how successful was this tagline with grammar mistakes?

This tagline made its debut in 1977 and is widely considered one of the most successful ad campaigns of the 20th century. Because of this tagline, the Marine Corps has maintained relatively stable personnel numbers. As of 2017, it had around 186,000 active duty members and about 38,500 personnel in reserve.

This tagline is so sexy to this Grumpy that I actually signed up to work for the Department of Defense.