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TECH TIP:  Readability Statistics
Microsoft Word has a built-in tool to give you a variety of statistics about your document.  It works with your spell checker.  When you complete your spell check, you can get readability statistics about your document.  Like: 

  • How many words, characters, paragraphs, and sentences are in your document.  And,
  • What is the average number of sentences, words per sentence, or characters per word

In addition you can get readability scores based on a formula (or algorithm) on the average number of words per sentence and syllables per word.  Here are the 2 reports you will receive:

  • The Flesch Reading Ease score:  This rates your document on a 100 point scale.  The higher the score, the easier it is to understand the document.  A score of 60 to 70 would be a score that most people would be able to read with ease.
  • The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score:  This gives you the grade level at which your document is written.  According to current statistics, the largest percent of the population can only read at a 6th-8th grade reading level?

There is one other statistic the Readability Statistics gives; Passive Sentences.  You should keep your use of passive sentences between 5 and 10 percent – the lower the better.  Why?  Because the passive voice is not as interesting and exciting as the active voice.  Go to this website and read about the passive voice and the active voice. 

http://www.dailygrammar.com/121to125.shtml

(During the election John Kerry used passive sentences about twice as many times as George Bush(You mean he lost the election because he used too many passive sentences?)

 

OK – How do you activate the Readability Scores?  Follow these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Word
  2. Click on Tools
  3. Click on Options
  4. Click on the Spelling and Grammar tab
  5. Click the square next to Show readability statistics
  6. Click OK

Now, open a Word document and check the spelling.  The shortcut key to check spelling is F7 (the F keys are at the top of the keyboard).  At the end of the spell check, you will get Readability Statistics – including the Flesch Reading Ease score and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Score and how many Passive Sentences you used.  (Too bad Kerry didn’t read this Tech Tip!)

 

You will get the rating for passive sentences if you activate Readability Scores, but if you want to check for passive sentences (and a host of other items), when you do a spelling and grammar check, you need to select those options.  Go to the Tools Menu, click on Options, click on the Spelling and Grammar tab, click on the Settings button, scroll down to the Style section, and click on Passive Sentences.  Also click on any other options you want the Grammar Checker to check.

 

OK – so how did I do?  Here are the readability statistics for this Tech Tip:

 

Words: 518

Characters:  2561

Paragraphs:  32

Sentences:  29

Average sentences per paragraph: 3.6

Average words per sentence:  14.3

Characters per Word:  4.5

Passive Sentences:  4% (Hmm – I could run for president)

Flesch Reading Ease:  64.3

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level:  7.7

 

Here’s a neat site to learn more about Readability Scores.  You can test the readability of a web site here also. 

http://juicystudio.com/services/readability.php

 

A great week have you! (Hey – is that’s a passive sentence?)

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E-Mail:    Marshall Adult Education

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