Yesterday's online edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had a story with this
marvelous lead paragraph:
City police arrested a Mount Oliver man suspected of robbing a bank in Carrick today
with the help of the bank's manager and a passing motorist, who followed the suspect
with a car while phoning in his location to police.
Once you wade through all the prepositional phrases and subordinate clauses, you're
able to figure out that the man didn't rob the bank with the help of the bank manager
and a passing motorist. Rather, they assisted the police to apprehend the
This 40-word jigsaw of a sentence is almost German in its construction. You have to get
to the end of the sentence to find out where you're going. As Mark Twain said in A
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, "Whenever the literary German dives into a
sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side
of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.".
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