Write Down

In most versions of Microsoft Word, you can select a passage or a whole file and find out about your writing. Here’s how:

Select the passage

Click on Tools

Click on Spelling and Grammar

Keep pressing ignore to all the suggestions (I assume you’ve already edited your work)

At the end you will get this kind of chart


Note the number of words per sentence. In this case 12.2. I’ve read that the average English sentence today is 13 words. So this writer is on target.

Next check the number of passive sentences. It should be low, very low. Passive verbs are weak.

Flesch Reading Ease — the higher it is, the easier it is to read. This document is easy to read. Most things rate between 60-70, but it could range from 30 (The readabilityHarvard Law Review) to 120

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is the easiest thing to understand. What grade level can read this document.

I believe we writers should write down. Then our audience will be larger.

What are your readability statistics?


images courtesy of:

  • edtechtesol.org

6 responses to “Write Down

    • Admittedly, I don’t have the latest word program, but most older versions of Microsoft Word allow you to get readability statistics. I checked a free writing program I’m fooling around with — LibreOffice — and it does NOT have these statistics. So perhaps you are right, they are going the way of the typewriter
      Thanks, Loreena

  1. I mostly agree. Except that “widening the audience” is actually only one goal, and not my favorite. A little crass. I think better: “most efficient, effective messaging”. This can refer to wider variety and inherent messiness of discourse. E.g., poetic description and dramatic dialog. Shorter probly not better.

    • Thank you, Peter. I’ve heard that before about ‘writing down.’ Also people say that you have to use the best word to describe something. If it’s a new word for the reader, good. Maybe he or she will learn the meaning of the word from the context.
      I agree with your premise, that it’s not always good to ‘Write Down.’

  2. Pingback: Book leveling and the Flesch-Kincaid grade-level equivalent « Education Matters·

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