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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.




  • 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."
  • 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).
  • 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.)


  • 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
  • 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.

     Video Games  

  • The 4X genre's name is one of these. It stands for "Explore, Expand, Exploit and Exterminate".
  • VVVVVV is this of the game's characters: Viridian, Violet, Victoria, Vermilion, Vitellary and Verdigris.
  • In Dariusburst Another Chronicle EX, EX mode's starting stages are labeled Expert, Extreme, and Exceed.

    Web Animation 


  • 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:
    Ennesby: You lived in a brain that existed for conflict, contest, and combat.
    Ennesby: Fling, flay, fly, and flail, and at least one flip.
    It is a city of poets and priests, pastors and pilgrims, and plenty of people whose title begin with letters other than "P"...

     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.
  • Barbie in the Twelve 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.
  • 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!

     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 (dilligent), 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.


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