Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Adam Wheeler, prose stylist

The Boston Globe reports that Adam Wheeler’s Harvard application was filled with inconsistencies. His prose wasn’t that great either. The Globe quotes a sentence from an essay accompanying Wheeler’s application:

My belief is that the conceptual basis of the multidisciplinary and cross-cultural study of texts, traditions, and discourses must consist of a commitment to connectivity — in part for all the reasons that bombard us every day as virtual cliches.
Here is a perfect example of what Michael Harvey’s The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing calls “the pompous style.” Look past the abstractions (“conceptual basis”), the nominalizations (“My belief is that” for “I believe”), and the prepositional phrases (seven of them), and the sentence reveals itself as a laughable tautology.

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