Here's an example from a paper written many, many years ago:

The gravity of this statement in the midst of a poem about the snipping of a strand of hair creates a jarring realization of concealment of importance by preoccupation with social superficiality.

Note the prepositions ganging up on that single poor lonely verb:

The gravity of this statement in the midst of a poem about the snipping of a strand of hair creates a jarring realization of concealment of importance by preoccupation with social superficiality.

Readers have great difficulty deciphering the sentence because the emphasis upon abstract nouns in the absence of transitive verbs prevents them from finding out who does what to whom. This kind of writing, in other words, omits crucial information. For example, to whom does "preoccupation" refer? Pope, the reader, some of the characters in the poem, all of them?

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Last modified 11 March 2008