“Trilogy” – What Are Series Of Different Than Three Called?

When referring to a series of things (books, movies, or shows), we have a few words as options. Most of those words depend on the exact length of a series. This article will explore all the words we can use depending on the number of things in a series.

What Can A Series Be Called?

There are a few good words we can use to refer to series of increasing lengths. This article will look at the following:

  • Dilogy
  • Trilogy
  • Tetralogy
  • Pentalogy
  • Hexalogy
series words

We use the “-logy” suffix of the words to refer to a “story.” It is a word of Greek origin (“logos”), meaning “story.” We use increasing values like “duo” (two), “trio” (three), “tetra” (four), and so on to talk about how many features are going to be a part of the story in the series.

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What Is A Series Of Two Called?

A series of two is known as a “dilogy.” We use the prefix “di-” here to show that two things are present in the story. Remember, “-logo” is the suffix we use to associate with stories. We use this phrase to establish that the story was always two books or movies long.

You might also come across one of the following words to refer to a series of two:

  • Duology
  • Diptych

Both of these words have similar origins to “dilogy.” We can use any of them to refer to a larger story that we’ve split up into two parts. It’s not the most common length of the story (since most people prefer trilogies that come in threes), but it’s still possible.

For reference, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl is a famous dilogy (with only two intended stories).

What Is A Series Of Three Called?

A series of three is known as a “trilogy.” This is the most common form of series in entertainment and publishing. Many people like their stories to come in a group of three because it perfectly sets it up as the beginning, middle, and end of a much larger story.

We are always drawn to things in threes in the world. It’s human nature to want to see the beginning, middle, and end of an era somehow. A trilogy is a perfect way to tell a story to do exactly that.

Again, we use the Greek origins of “logy” as the suffix to refer to the story. This time, we use “trio-” (or “tri-“) as the prefix to show that there are three installments to the thing.

As we’ve said, trilogies are one of the most common types of stories and series to come across. Here are a number of famous ones to help you understand them:

  • Original Star Wars
  • Star Wars Prequels
  • Iron Man
  • Terminator
  • The Godfather
  • Spider-Man
  • The Bourne Trilogy
  • Back to the Future

While some of these stories went on to have more movies made, the original intention for the stories was always as a three-part installment. We would often find that the extra fourth addition would decline in quality, showing it wasn’t intended to be part of the story.

What Is A Series Of Four Called?

A series of four is known as a “tetralogy.” We can take “tetra-” as the prefix to show that four installments were intended in the overall production of a series here. It’s not the most common variation, but it tends to happen after the success of a trilogy.

You might find that a lot of older trilogies become tetralogies after a while. If the original trilogy of something was so successful, then it’s likely that the publishers, authors, or producers would want to capitalize on that success and add more to the story.

Common examples include:

  • Toy Story
  • Terminator
  • Alien
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Hunger Games

Some of these movies were intended as a trilogy originally. However, after showing keen interest in them, producers would choose to extend the story a little more to include one final fourth part to the overall story.

What Is A Series Of Five Called?

A series of five is known as a “pentalogy.” These are not nearly as common as the other series above it on this list. However, we still use “penta-” as the prefix to show that five things make up the overall story. Without those five episodes, the story cannot be finished.

It’s not all that common because most people are happy to stop at three, while some go on to do four. However, it is still sometimes useful to use “pentalogies.”

What Is A Series Of Six Called?

A series of six is called a “hexalogy.” This is the least common of all the variations of story or series on this list. Six installments are a lot to keep up with, and they can be difficult for a writer to complete to an effective extent.

What Is The Difference Between A “Saga” And A “Trilogy”?

Now that we’ve explored the different increasing lengths of a story, it’s time to look into a “saga” as an option too. We’ll settle with “trilogy” as a comparison, as that seems to be the most common length for stories in literature and entertainment.

A “trilogy” only ever refers to three books or movies that follow the same story to make up a larger story in a series. A “saga” is a collection of multiple books or movies that make one large, overarching story without a set number of stories involved.

The key difference comes mostly from the intention of the creators. For example, a famous trilogy is the Original Star Wars Trilogy (featuring Episodes IV, V, and VI).

This trilogy was always supposed to be published and presented as three stories.

However, a famous saga would be The Lord of the Rings, where the books were never intended to be broken up into a trilogy (the author wanted them to all be the same, large book).

Therefore, even though it’s traditional for The Lord of the Rings to be presented as a trilogy, it’s much more appropriate to call it a “saga” because it is a series of multiple stories without an exact number that becomes one much larger story.