Monday, April 25, 2005

Writing to the Masses

So JC posted his readability, and I, like the good follower, wanted to do the same. What I noticed in the test was that I apparently narrate this at about a fourth grade level (see statistics infra). I was originally going to title this post, "Am I Writing for Retards?," but I nixed this idea for two reasons: one, it's terribly nonpolitically correct, and two, I didn't want to imply that my readers are in any way mentally diminished. I've always said that short sentences and single ideas evidence fluency. I mean, who REALLY wants to read sentences that are pages long. I KNOW you can do them, but it can be hard to hold a though that long. I've been tearing into my new thesis material, and I've already 8 pages with some footnotes. Go me. I also met with my thesis defense partner, who I will be 'leading' when she defends in may. Her topic is INCREDIBLY cool. Mine, on the other hand, is so involved even her eyes glazed over when I started talking about it.

Readability Results for

  • Readability Results Summary Value

  • Total sentences 375

  • Total words 3,155

  • Average words per Sentence 8.41

  • Words with 1 Syllable 2,272

  • Words with 2 Syllables 606

  • Words with 3 Syllables 197

  • Words with 4 or more Syllables 80

  • Percentage of word with three or more syllables 8.78%

  • Average Syllables per Word 1.39

  • Gunning Fog Index 6.88

  • Flesch Reading Ease 80.45

  • Flesch-Kincaid Grade 4.13

For some background:

  • The result is your Gunning-Fog index, which is a rough measure of how many years of schooling it would take someone to understand the content. The lower the number, the more understandable the content will be to your visitors. Results over seventeen are reported as seventeen, where seventeen is considered post-graduate level. (I RAWK anyone can read it!):
    6 TV guides, The Bible, Mark Twain
    8 Reader's Digest
    8 - 10 Most popular novels
    10 Time, Newsweek
    11 Wall Street Journal
    14 The Times, The Guardian
    15 - 20 Academic papers
    Over 20 Only government sites can get away with this, because you can't ignore them.
    Over 30 The government is covering something up

  • The Flesch Reading Ease result is an index number that rates the text on a 100-point scale. The higher the score, the easier it is to understand the document. Authors are encouraged to aim for a score of approximately 60 to 70. (80 percentile baby ... :) sweet)

  • The result is the Flesch-Kincaid grade level. Like the Gunning-Fog index, it is a rough measure of how many years of schooling it would take someone to understand the content. Negative results are reported as zero, and numbers over twelve are reported as twelve.

Just for fun, I put in thesis number 1:
and I can't seem to get it to give me an answer, so I had to split the document up, which I think messes with the test, but the text was pretty uniform, so hopefully it works out okay.

Total sentences 725
Total words 6,961
Average words per Sentence 9.60
Words with 1 Syllable 3,941
Words with 2 Syllables 1,302
Words with 3 Syllables 997
Words with 4 or more Syllables 721
Percentage of word with three or more syllables 24.68%
Average Syllables per Word 1.78
Gunning Fog Index 13.71
Flesch Reading Ease 46.14
Flesch-Kincaid Grade 9.21

Second Part:

Total sentences 630
Total words 5,822
Average words per Sentence 9.24
Words with 1 Syllable 3,418
Words with 2 Syllables 1,135
Words with 3 Syllables 728
Words with 4 or more Syllables 541
Percentage of word with three or more syllables 21.80%
Average Syllables per Word 1.72
Gunning Fog Index 12.42
Flesch Reading Ease 51.62
Flesch-Kincaid Grade 8.36

HOWEVER, thesis number 2, you know, where I dumb things down and get all logical-like:
Total sentences 390
Total words 4,736
Average words per Sentence 12.14
Words with 1 Syllable 2,714
Words with 2 Syllables 878
Words with 3 Syllables 595
Words with 4 or more Syllables 549
Percentage of word with three or more syllables 24.16%
Average Syllables per Word 1.78
Gunning Fog Index 14.52
Flesch Reading Ease 43.55
Flesch-Kincaid Grade 10.20

HA, a few more points and my Fog reading would be at academic paper! w00t! You apparently need more schooling to read the second paper. this makes absolutely NO Sense, since I use smaller sentences. Whatever. Scarily, I'm already ahead of pace for 4 syllable words ... hmm autonomy, arbitrability, arbitrable, arbitration, arbitrator(s), environmental, signatory, nonsignatory, environmental; I definitely see how the numbers get up there.


Listed on BlogShares