A number of you were surprised by your FOG Index scores — they were higher than you thought. A couple of you asked for more information on the FOG Index. So here it is.
Wikipedia has a good write-up on the FOG index, with links to online calculators and such. Here’s the direct link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunning-Fog_Index
Wikipedia lists three online FOG calculators:
- Fog Index Calculator– a simple web page to cut-and-paste text and then calculate Fog Index
- Online Fog Index calculator – suggestions how to improve readability, different measurements
- Readability calculators – six readability statistics
Another good resource is Juicy Studio’s Readability web page, which discusses two other measures of readability, the Flesch Reading Ease algorithm and the Flesch-Kincaid grade level test. It also includes a link to All About Readability, an article by Cheryl Stephens that reviews all of these calculators and discusses what they can — and can’t — tell you about your writing.
Here’s how to lower your FOG index:
- use shorter, simpler words
- introduce more variety in your sentence lengths (which usually means interspersing some shorter sentences among average-to-long sentences).
This page of Writing Tips, published by the University of Minnesota, also include some helpful tips on lowering your FOG Index.