I often find myself inclined to write something like the following:

Let's think about this problem from the point of view of readability and self-obvious design.

Two *of*s, which come one after another, look bad and sometimes disrupt the flow of thought. And it may be even worse — I start trying to introduce even more nested attributes, recursively.

I tried rewriting the top sentence using the readability and self-obvious design as an attribute of point of view, but that's even worse in my opinion.

How can I avoid such repetitive pattern and still be able to express complex attributes of subjects?

  • 3
    The simplest correction would be to replace "point of view of". You probably don't mean "point of view" anyway, which signifies the attitude or approach from which you "view" the problem. What you're talking about are things which belong to the problem, and you're suggesting looking at those first. You could say "Let's think about this problem with regard to" or "with particular attention to". Or you could just say "Let's start by looking at readability and self-obvious design". ... By the way, what on earth is "self-obvious design"? Jan 27, 2014 at 19:46
  • @stoneyb Surely that's a completely self-obvious phrase. :-)
    – Jay
    Jan 27, 2014 at 20:10
  • 1
    I think I read "point of view" as a single word, so it doesn't seem like repetition to me. I had to re-read it several times to see what you were talking about, in fact. (But this is just a hypothesis to explain why it's hard to notice, and it may not be the right explanation.)
    – user230
    Jan 28, 2014 at 3:34
  • 2
    By the way, in COCA, of is the word that most commonly follows "point of view". I don't think there's any reason to avoid it.
    – user230
    Jan 28, 2014 at 13:23
  • Self-obvious is someone's idea of an improvement on "self-apparent", née "intuitive"
    – TimR
    May 16, 2016 at 18:45

2 Answers 2


While what you have written here is perfectly acceptable, your points show a finely developed sense of style as well. In the case of your example, simply substituting "viewpoint of readability" should accomplish your goal.

To answer your broader question at the end, use your creativity, and find other ways to express multiple possessives. The above is an example.


While it is true that we generally avoid using the same word multiple times in one sentence, this rule is not generally applied to short words like articles and prepositions. I don't see anything wrong with "point of view of readability", and I don't think most English speakers would even notice the two "of"s.

That said, if it really bothers you, one alternative would be to replace "point of view" with an alternative word or phrase. For example, "from the perspective of readability", or as BobRodes says, "from the viewpoint of readability". Or you could make a more serious re-wording of the sentence, like "Let us consider readability ..." Etc.

  • I agree; there needs to be more than two nearby instances of of before it becomes distractingly poor form.
    – J.R.
    Nov 22, 2015 at 9:39

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