Tuesday, January 6, 2009

readability ability

For the mag class ... or anyone else, actually.

As promised, here's the formula for the Gunning Fog Index, which tells you the number of years of school someone would need to have completed to comprehend a given piece of prose -- or, for that matter, a speech or lecture:

1. Count off a block of 100 words. Count # of sentences, including any at least half contained in that block of words. Calculate sentence length by dividing the number of sentences into 100.
2. Count # wds with three or more syllables. Do not include names, easy compound words or verbs that have 3 syllables because of endings. Calculate the percentage of "difficult" words by dividing the total by 100.
3. Add the results of 1 and 2. Multiply that sum by .4 Your total will give you the approximate grade level a reader would need to have attained to understand the passage.

You may be surprised if you apply the formula to some of the stuff you normally read. Or to this blog. In any event, it's a good little tool to help you determine audience, on one hand, and how to reach said audience, on the other. Cheers. bk

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