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Alliterative List

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Sometimes a character doling out Rule #1 has a snappy list of a few words, each beginning with the same letter. He can therefore refer to the rules as "the five M's", or whatever. For added comedy, they may not exactly start with the same letter.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The first duel theme in Revolutionary Girl Utena famously begins with "When Where Who Which" (also the song's name). Utena being Utena, the exclusion of "Why" turns out to be significant to understanding what the duels are and how they actually work. No one asks.
  • Blend-S's opening theme Bon Appétit S starts with a list of words starting with S: "Smile! Sweet! Sister! Sadistic! Surprise! Service!"

    Comic Books 
  • This was the earliest explanation behind Superman's famous S symbol. In Superboy Vol. 1 #78, Superboy explains he chose it not only to stand for his name, but to also mean saving lives, stopping crime, and giving super-aid wherever it's needed.
  • The Wizard of Id:
    • The King is asked if he studied the Three R's at school. Turns out in his case they stood for "The Ruthless Reprimand of the Rack!"
    • In the 5-13-1966 comic strip, the King describes the peasants to be disciplined as "raucous, rude, and reprehensible."
  • "The Narcissist Heart", a rewrite of the Girls' Love Stories comic story, "Love Cheat", by Jeanne Martinet (found in Truer Than True Romance), has quite a list of characters that start with the letter B (most of them anyway): Brenda (main character), Betty, Brian, Brandy, Brendan, Britt, and Brad.

  • Ascend (xTSGx): The title of one of Chapter One's books, which wouldn't be a long title except for the subtitle:
    Deja Vu, Dreams, and Delusions: Understanding Hallucinations and Other Mental Strangites
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: In Surface Battle, Part 1 Used when an enemy leader was giving orders:
    To his credit, her opponent didn't flinch at her approach. His horned helmet only covered his face from the nose up, and she could see him press his lips together in determination. "Split, scatter, surround!" he instructed as he took a wide-legged stance, the six braids hanging off his chin bobbing.
  • Evershade: In Reforming: When the protagonist is thinking what his Gender Bender means:
    But I was going to be a girl soon. I was going to have to face everything they did. PMS. Periods. Pregnancy? Was I going to have a baby one day? To carry one? To give birth? No! Please, God, no.
  • Message In A Bottle Starscribe: Used to describe the basics of logistics of an army / rebellion:
    We work best supporting the troops from the back. And to do that, we need to be able to provide them with things. Bullets, bread, blankets.”
  • Not the intended use (Zantetsuken Reverse): "Chapter 21: OMAKE 3 Halloween": The list of spies' names:
    The spies were named Saitou, Saizou, Suzukaze, Seiji, Seto, Seta, Souta, Shinichi, Shinpachi, Shinji, Sanosuke, Sho, Saburo, and Hikaru.
  • The Palaververse: When talking about Zebrican religion:
    Mother Neighle['s] three children[:] The spirits of Sun, Sand, and Sweet Water.
  • Past Sins: Chapter 21 talks about Nyx's future in Twilight's care:
    Luna: I want you to ensure she laughs, learns, lives, and has friends.
  • The Story Shuffle series:
  • Tantabus Mark II: In How the Tantabus Parses Sleep: Problem Exists Between Map and Assignment: Submission: Inadvertent due to multiple surprise-related words starting with W.
    “Whoa, wait, what?” Moondog’s wings sprang open and she jumped into the air to hover right in front of Discord’s face.
  • Triptych Continuum: It's why the Alliterative Title of Cut, Color, Carat, Clarity, is an Alliterative Title.
  • Quizzical: From The Quality of Mercy, when Quiz talks about Spike's cooking:
    “Your cooking is disgusting. Your pancakes in particular are frightfully bad. They are horrific, horrendous, and horrible. Um, do I need to go on?”
  • Windfall: Fluttershy's Wacky Cravings seem to have made such a list, when Pinkie Pie mentions them:
    last time I went to visit Fluttershy she said she had this totally intense craving for pistachios, which is something I can work with. I mean more than the pickles or the pimentos

    Films — Animated 
  • Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses: At the beginning of the movie, there's a visitor from another kingdom and said visitor mentions several reasons his home kingdom is famous for. All reasons start with the letter P.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Isaac Asimov's Asimov's Book of Facts: The Tagline for the 1980 Fawcett publication would feature two words per line, matching the letters/sounds.
    unbelievable, unusual,
    funny, fascinating,
    interesting, entertaining,
    and fantastic facts
  • In the Black Blade series, the top three positions under the head of a Family as the Broker, the Bruiser and the Butler.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Pupils are taught the Three D's of Apparition: Destination, Determination and Deliberation.
    • : From Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:
      "D'you think I don't know what people call me behind my back? Fat Myrtle! Ugly Myrtle! Miserable, moaning, moping Myrtle!"
  • Amanda McKittrick Ros's Irene Iddesleigh: "pebbled with principle, piety, purity and peace."
  • Phantastes: When Anodos describes what happened to him and the Spirit of Marble:
    I gazed after her in a kind of despair; found, freed, lost!
  • A Piece in the Game of Gods: After some torture to the main character:
    Eventually, Nadine took a break, leaving me a burned, broken, and bloody mess.
  • The School for Good and Evil: The list of things you are not allowed to do in the Flowerground consists entirely of words starting with 's', except for the last item.
    No spitting, sneezing, singing, sniffling, swinging, swearing, slapping, sleeping, or urinating in the Flowerground.
  • Time To: The list of possible reasons to say, "please" in "Time to Say, 'Please'! are: when you want a turn, when you want a toy, when you want to borrow someone's truck, and when you want to try something for the first time (although the last item on the list is "stop", which doesn't alliterate).
  • Vainqueur The Dragon: From the second chapter, "V&V":
    Alain went flying and crashed against a stone wall with a loud, morbidly amusing sound. He turned into a puddle of blood, brains and bones on impact, like a squashed mosquito.
  • Whateley Universe: From A Single Fold:
    "Would a student who knows us [the Grunts] and Jobe, consider a frontal assault?"
    "Only if they were utterly stupid, sideways and snippy maybe," Bunker motioned to herself and then as if in illustration Mule.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The German Saturday Night All Family Show "Am laufenden Band" once required from their contestants to talk solely in words beginning with a randomly chosen letter. (The performance varied, naturally.)
  • Spoofed in the Salute Your Shorts episode "Telly and the Basketball Team" with camp counselor Ug's "Four F's of Leadership": Fearlessness, Fairness, Firmness and Control.
    Telly: Control isn't an F.
    Ug: Well then it's three F's and a C.
    Telly: Sounds like Donkeylips' report card.

  • Capitol Steps, "Middle-Aged Lady Named Janet Reno":
    There are three new R's on the new school grounds:
    Readin' and Rappin' and Rifle Rounds.
  • Kool Moe Dee's diss track "Let's Go" had him taking the first two letters of LL Cool J's name and makes a list of mocking names the initals stand for:
    You got hands for tryna be me, now LL stands for
    Lower Level, Lack Luster
    Last Least, Limp Lover
    Lousy Lame, Latent Lethargic
    Lazy Lemon, Little Logic
    Lucky Leech, Liver Lipped
    Laborious Louse on a Loser's Lips
    Live in Limbo, Lyrical Lapse
    Low Life with the Loud Raps, boy
  • All song titles on the Ministry album "Houses of the Molé" begin with W.
  • Neue Deutsche Welle song "Anneliese" by Der Wilde Jürgen. All words of the lyrics begin with A.
  • I Know What You're Thinking by Paul Sanchez has this bit:
    Placing my person one point from a prostitute,
    Honored but weary and worn.
    Chasing a chump that they chose as a champion
    When you tripped him with your baton.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Kurt Angle had the Three I's: Intensity, Integrity and Intelligence.
  • Just like Angle above, Seth Rollins has the Three R's: Redesign, Rebuild and Reclaim.
  • Likewise, Giovanni Vinci has the Three V's: Veni, Vidi, Vinci.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 

  • Grrl Power: From 290, when listing injuries:
    bumps, bruises and burns,
  • In Knights of Buena Vista, Adriana's Player Character is being crowned queen, and when it turns out that the bishop is using this opportunity to hypnotize the queen, she calls him a "sneaky, slimy, seditious, sinister, sly, subversive, scelerous swine".
  • Schlock Mercenary: Multiple:
    • From strip 2013-04-18, when discussing another AI:
      Ennesby: You lived in a brain that existed for conflict, contest, and combat.
    • From strip 2017-11-26, A brief lesson on flays and scourges:
      Ennesby: Fling, flay, fly, and flail, and at least one flip.
    • strip 2018-06-03:
      It is a city of poets and priests, pastors and pilgrims, and plenty of people whose title begin with letters other than "P"...

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-6423: The interview with BRYCE SHELLEY has some, as he says:
    SHELLEY: Oh, a bit of everything. But particularly the three A's. Arms, agriculture…
    HARCOURT: Automotive?

    SHELLEY: That [Charles Danforth]'s one of those new-age religious folk, you know. Believing in a different God. Seances, singing circles… sacrifices. That sort of thing.

    Western Animation 

  • The Simpsons:
    • "To Surveil, With Love": Chief Wiggum is explaining the duties to some civilian volunteers.
      Chief Wiggum: Now, just follow a little formula called PB & J. Peer at the monitor. Be judgmental. And jot it down. One way to remember that is A-B-C. Always Be Considering PB & J. But the single most important rule is the four As. Always Act According to A-B-C.
    • Ned Flanders retains his youth at sixty by following the three Cs. Clean living, chewing thoroughly, and a daily dose of vitamin church. Though only two of those are alliterative — church and chew.
  • Animaniacs has the segment "All the Words in the English Language," where Yakko sings all the words in the English language. He starts with words beginning with A (at the beginning of the alphabet) and does not advance to another letter until he sings all the words starting with the letter he is at, making each section an alliterative list.
    Yakko (singing): Aardvark, abating, abet, abdicating, abandon, abase, and abreast;
    Ablaze and ablution, abhor and abusion, abbreviate, abbey, abscessed...
  • In South Park, we get this exchange from the episode "It's a Jersey Thing":
    Kyle: I'm not from Jersey, I was born here.
    Cartman: Don't try and deny it! You're one of them dude, and by my account that's strike three!
    Kyle: What's strike three?
    Cartman: You're a ginger, a Jew, and from Jersey! Three strikes, Kyle — you're out!
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Applebuck Season", Twilight Sparkle complains about the trouble a sleep-deprived Applejack has inadvertently caused.
    Twilight: Your apple-bucking hasn't just caused you problems. It's over-propelled a pegasus, practically poisoned plenty of ponies, and terrorized bushels of brand-new bouncing baby bunnies!
  • On one episode of the Hercules: The Animated Series, Hades takes over Prometeus Academy (Herc's school) and institutes his own take on the three R's: Revenge, requital and retribution.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Trying to help Nergal to make friends, Billy introduces him to the five C's of friendship. Cleanliness, Consideration, Compliments, Conversation, and, uh, Sharing.
  • In the Rocko's Modern Life Christmas Episode, Rocko notices that it's hard to believe it's Christmas Eve in O-Town, and asks Spunky, "Where's the Winter Wonderland? Where's the Warm, friendly gatherings?"
  • The ending of the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Bugs and Thugs" shows Bugs as a private investigator.
    Bugs: (answering phone) Bugs Bunny Private Eyeball - Thugs thwarted, arsonists arrested, bandits booked, forgers found and chiselers chiseled!
  • The Patrick Star Show: In "Survivoring", Cecil assures Patrick that they can survive their camping trip because he has the "three 'G's": gadgets, gizmos, and gear.

    Real Life 
  • The Ur-Example is possibly the three R's of education: Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic.
  • Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, in their books on evolution and xenobiology, refer to "universals", which evolved many times to solve the same problem, and which we might expect alien lifeforms to also evolve, and "parochials", which only evolved once, however important they might seem to us. The most significant universals are the four F's: Fur, Flight, Fotosynthesis and F... sexual reproduction.
  • The three R's of waste management: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
  • The four D's of dyslexia: Defining, Deciphering, Diagnosis and Dealing.
  • In certain Christian denominations, it's extremely common for pastors to organize their sermons in this way. Answers in Genesis has what it calls "The Seven C's of History".
  • Slip, Slop, Slap: the Australian mantra for sun protection from a highly successful PSA campaign. (That's slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat). In recent years, they have added Seek (shelter) and Slide (on sunglasses) to the list, although this hasn't quite permeated the public consciousness the way Slip, Slop, Slap did. note 
  • Clunk-click, every trip - for the UK safety agency RoSPA's 1970s seatbelt campaign.
  • Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? The five dubyas (and an H) of journalism.
  • The old science show Johnny Ball Reveals All had "Who, What, Why, Where, When?" as part of the theme tune enthusing about curiosity.
  • There's the Four Fs of evolutionary biology: fighting, fleeing, feeding, and procreation.
  • There is a saying in Czech: to have all five P's or to have all the P's together, which means to have all that it takes to be very desirable as a romantic partner and future spouse. The P's stand for adjectives, however, the actual lists may vary. Common adjectives included are pekna (pretty), poctiva (honest), pokorna (humble), poslusna (obedient), pilna (hard-working), penezita (wealthy money-wise), pracovita (industrious), privetiva (amiable), pritulna (cuddly), pricinliva (diligent), prachata (rich money-wise) or pobozna (religious). note 
  • The Latin motto "Veni, Vidi, Vici" (I came, I saw, I conquered).
  • The seven P's of planning: Prior Preparation and Planning Prevent Piss-Poor Performance.
  • American politics has provided several examples:
    • During the 1884 presidential campaign, Republican candid Wide Open Sandbox ate James G. Blaine was at a rally in New York City when a supporter described the Democrats as the party of "rum, Romanism, and rebellion". This was a swipe at the Democrats' main constituencies of that day—anti-temperance, specifically opposing restrictions on sale of alcoholic beverages ("rum"); Catholics ("Romanism"), and former Confederates and their sympathizers ("rebellion"). Blaine had hoped to gain inroads among the city's Irish Catholics, but never distanced himself from that remark, and it came back to bite him. The race came down to New York, which Blaine lost by fewer than 1,200 votes to Grover Cleveland.
    • During the 1970 midterm elections, Richard Nixon's vice-president Spiro Agnew referred to politicians critical of the administration's policies as "nattering nabobs of negativism" (a phrase created by speechwriter William Safire). Journalists, who had been the targets of Agnew's criticism in a series of celebrated November 1969 speeches, soon usurped the phrase and claimed that Agnew had used it against them, even though he had never referred to the press in said 1970 speech. Numerous books and articles have since claimed that said alliterative phrase was a slam at the press when it actually wasn't (though it likely reflected the Nixon administration's general view of the press).
    • During the 1972 Democratic primaries, as George McGovern won the Massachusetts primary, conservative journalist Robert Novak called several Democratic senators to get their reactions. In his column, he quoted an unnamed Democratic senator as saying "The people don't know McGovern is for amnesty, abortion, and legalization of pot. Once middle America—Catholic middle America, in particular—finds this out, he's dead." ("Amnesty" referred to amnesty for Vietnam War draft dodgers.) Republicans immediately called McGovern the candidate of "amnesty, abortion, and acid", even though he only supported decriminalization of marijuana and believed that states had the rights to determine their policies on abortion.
  • In the PBS documentary series Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, Adam West mentions the "Three Bs" of pop culture in the late 60s: The Beatles, Bond, and Batman.