electronic brain surgery since 2001

Statistics for better texts

Writing easy to read English texts is hard. Especially if you went through the German school system, like I did ;-).

German sentences tend to be long with a lot of commas. This is often reflected in my blog posts, which makes them harder to understand than necessary.

A while ago I stumbled about a way to calculate the readability of a text using a statistical analysis. In fact there are multiple ways to do this.

One is the Gunning fog index. It takes the number of words per sentence and the number of words with more than three syllables to calculate a score. The score reflects the approximate years of (US) education a reader would need to understand the text.

Another method is called Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test which takes a similar approach but produces an abstract score. The higher the better. There is also a method to transfer this score to a school grade similar to what the Gunning fog index does.

Dave Child made an online readability checker and made the PHP code available. I used his functions to build a DokuWiki readability plugin. Hopefully this will help me to improve my writing.

BTW: These are the results for this post ;-)

  • Gunning-Fog Score: 11.06
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 45.79
  • Flesch-Kincaid Grade: 9.77
gunning-fog, flesch-kincaid, readability, dokuwiki, plugin
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