...Just an observation.
I've been editing a lot of work recently in which authors have an absolute obsession with series of three. Case in point: ". . . family structure, societal factors, and economic circumstances made us gravitate toward the positive side of an arduous situation."
This is just one of many, many, MANY (now they've got me doing it) lists like this. What I don't understand is WHY? Do authors not realize that endless series of threes like this produce their own rhythm when read? Do they not realize that, after endless paragraphs with endless series, the rhythm they've produced is soporific? Do they not realize that this will, in fact, induce their readers to read and forget the text almost immediately--if they don't fall asleep first?
I suppose I should count my blessings. I just finished editing one book where the author not only indulged in endless lists of three, but also branched out into other varieties of lists with many MORE parts to them, lists that were in themselves repetitive. (Think, "apples, oranges, pineapples, peaches, grapes, figs, and various fruit salad components of other kinds..." etc., itemized EVERY TIME one needs to mention fruit.) After awhile, I started looking around for someone swinging a watch and murmuring, "Look deep into my eyes...you are getting very, very sleepy...."
So what is it with groups and series? Are authors so afraid of Not Including Everyone and Everything that the alternative is writing prose that sounds like a book of grocery lists? Anyone have a thought on this? (or three? or a series?)