How FOGgy are you?

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:

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.

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