Communication Skills

JS Tip 149: From the Writing Workshops: Measuring Your Writing

The Fog Index measures the readability of a document: how easy a document is to read.

The Index has three steps.

First, you mark a passage about a hundred words long. Enough to get a sample.

Second, you do some counting.

A. You count the sentences in the passage.

B. You count the words in the passage.

C. You count the long words in the passage.

Third (and last), you do some math.

1.  Divide the number of words by the number of sentences (B/A) to get the average words per sentence. The standard is 15.

2.  Divide the number of long words by the number of words to get the percentage of long words. Make it a whole number. Again, the standard is 15.

3.  Add the average words per sentence to the percentage of long words.

4.  Multiply that total by .4.

The result is the Fog Index.

The Fog Index is the number of years of education required to understand the passage.

In Memoriam. In our writing workshops, we talk of engineer Roger Boisjoly and his memos warning of the problems with the space shuttle o-rings. Roger Boisjoly died last month. He was a brave and honest man.

Next week: Leadership issues. Leaders and trust.  

You have questions? Let us know. We love this stuff.

 

 

 

From the Writing Workshops: Measuring Your Writing

The Fog Index measures the readability of a document: how easy a document is to read.

The Index has three steps.

First, you mark a passage about a hundred words long. Enough to get a sample.

Second, you do some counting.

         A.      You count the sentences in the passage. (Let's supppose you count four sentences in the passage.) 

         B.       You count the words in the passage. (And let's suppose you count 121 words in the passage.) 

         C.       You count the long words (three syllables or more) in the passage. (Nineteen long words.) 

Third (and last), you do some math.

         1.      Divide the number of words by the number of sentences (B/A) to get the average words per sentence: 121/4 = 30.25. The standard is 15. 

         2.      Divide the number of long words by the number of words to get the percentage of long words. Make it a whole number: 19/121 = 15.7 percent. Again, the standard is 15. 

         3       Add the average words per sentence to the percentage of long words: 30.25 + 15.7 = 45.95 

         4.      Multiply that total by .4: 45.95 x .4 = 18.38

The result is the Fog Index.

The Fog Index is the number of years of education required to understand the passage. 18.38 is waaay too high. Work for numbers in the mid tens. 

In Memoriam. In our writing workshops, we talk of engineer Roger Boisjoly and his memos warning of the problems with the space shuttle o-rings. Roger Boisjoly died last month. He was a brave and honest man.

Next week: Leadership issues. Leaders and trust.  

You have questions? Let us know. We love this stuff. We really do.