The Unusual Paragraph

Posted by Steven Bryant On February - 7 - 2006

The Puzzle

This is an unusual paragraph. I’m curious how quickly you can find out what is so unusual about it. You probably won’t, at first, find anything particularly odd or unusual or in any way dissimilar to any ordinary composition. It looks so plain you would think nothing was wrong with it. In fact, nothing is wrong with it! But it is unusual. Why? Study it, and think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you work at it a bit, you might find out! Try to do so without any coaching! No doubt, if you work at it for long, it may dawn on you. Who knows? Go to work and try your skill. Good luck.

The Answer

Did you find the oddity?
The letter ‘e’, which is the most commonly used letter in the English language, does not appear once in the above paragraph.

What Does It Mean?

If you didn’t know what the answer was, or what the word¬†lipogram¬†meant, you could end up looking at the paragraph for a long time and conclude that there wasn’t anything special about it. This was my experience when first presented with this puzzle.
Once told that this paragraph was constructed without the letter ‘e’, however, most readers can readily see why this paragraph is unusual. I use this example to illustrate how hard finding something can be if, at first, you don’t know what you’re looking for, but how easy it can be after someone points out some unique characteristic.

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