Write Rightly

I’ve been thinking about my writing on this blog lately and wondering if I’ve been writing on appropriate level. My goal is to write clearly that a person not into technology in general can get something out of any given post if the topic is of interest to them. However, I also want those who follow the field, who I suspect are at least a good portion of readers here, to not be bored.

I wondered if there is any (free, of course) way to objectify some of these goals. At about that time, I found an interesting list of writing tools for bloggers and other writers at a publication I wasn’t familiar with, Smashing Magazine.

One that seemed of particular interest to me was Advanced Text analysis. Back when I used Windows ’95 (Yikes!) and Microsoft Works (Double Yikes!), one of the features that I liked was a readability grade. It gave you an idea of how complicated a text was by analyzing how many long and multi-syllabic words were used in your document.

The folks at UsingEnglish.com are giving you that tool and many others, but most of them require that you be registered.

Here are some of the results of the analysis of my last 10 blog posts.

Readability:

Overall Sampled Calculated Grading
Hard Words: 538 13
Long Words: 1,046 21
Lexical Density: 26.56 % 68.91 %
Gunning Fog Index: 12.38 12.30 Hard
Coleman-Liau Grade: 17.85 9.29 9th Grade
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 9.40 8.31 8th Grade (3 years)
Flesch Reading Ease: 64.06 70.82 Fairly Easy: 6th Grade
ARI (Automated Readability Index): 15.69 8.55 8th Grade
SMOG: 11.03 11.06 11 Years (Some high school)
LIX (Laesbarhedsindex): 40.91 37.48 Standard

In some ways, I’m happy to see that my writing is not too complicated, but it seems that I might consider upping the bar a little bit. As a point of reference this article describes the writing level of various publications.

The thing that really struck me though were the values of different words used.

General:

Overall Sampled
Characters (all): 29,174 641
Characters (words only): 22,988 507
Words: 5,106 119
Different Words: 1,356 82

With over 5,000 words generated, I had only used 1,356 total words. That’s a pretty staggering figure to me. It may mean I need to vary my word choice a little more, or that I should talk about some different topics.

This is really only the beginning of the analysis on the site, and you can find lots of interesting and frankly not so interesting pieces of data about your writing.

Hopefully, you won’t find this analysis too self-indulgent, but if you are fellow or blogger or doing writing somewhere else in your life, it might be worthwhile to put your text through the analyzer and see what you get.

If you find some interesting results, let me know in the comments.

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