Readability tools & studies

Subject: Readability tools & studies
From: * <sfarmh1 -at- SCFN -dot- THPL -dot- LIB -dot- FL -dot- US>
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 1996 12:58:52 -0500

There are a number of ''readability'' tools available
(albeit my favorite, RightWriter, seems to have
disappeared), but they should be used with caution.

I recall an STC event 100 years ago where an IBMer examined
indexing. He read to us a paragraph that passed the USAF
text -- it was Pentagon-ese and no one in the room really
understood what the author was trying to convey.
He then read to us (all this supported by overheads) a
100-plus word, single-sentence paragaph slapped together by
a hack writer ... we all were able to understand exactly
what Hemingway was describing (bull fight scene).

Testing your document is a good way to improve already good
writing, and sometimes it is a req in the contract
(typically mil-spec pubs), but don't let fog indices be the
end all. Would _I_ write a 100-plus word sentence? Is my
name Hemingway?


john glenn <sfarmh1 -at- scfn -dot- thpl -dot- lib -dot- fl -dot- us>
====================================================
...do not make a statement that cannot be easily
understood on the grounds that it will be understood
eventually. (Hillel)


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