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The Fog Index

Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Assessing the readability of a Time.com excerpt.

This month, we calculate the Fog Index of a Time.com article ("Technology's Perfect Storm Is Coming This Fall" by Tim Bajarin). Let's take a look:

"The second big thing will be the push by Microsoft to introduce two versions of Windows 8, the company's new operating system with the Metro touch user interface. This new OS will be especially important for the tablet market, and by late October we should have dozens of new Windows 8 tablets available in two distinct flavors. The first will be tablets based on Intel's x86 chipsets. This is important because it means that you will be able to run existing Windows apps on these tablets. The one problem with this is that existing apps will not be Metro- or touch-enabled, which means that to use them you will need a tablet that also has a stylus. Microsoft is pushing software vendors to build new apps that are touch-enabled to take advantage of the Metro UI, but at launch we expect less than 10,000 Metro apps for Windows 8 will be available."

Word count: 152 words
--Average sentence length: 25 words (28, 29, 10, 19, 31, 35)
--Words with 3+ syllables: 8 percent (12/152 words)
--Fog Index: (25+8)*.4 = 13 (no rounding)

This excerpt is in pretty good shape, but it could use some minor tweaks to bring the Fog score down by two points or more. (Remember, the ideal score is under 12.)

"The second big thing will be the push by Microsoft to introduce two versions of Windows 8, the new operating system with the Metro touch user interface. This new OS will be important for the tablet market. By late October there should be dozens of new Windows 8 tablets in two distinct flavors. The first will be tablets based on Intel's x86 chipsets. This means that you will be able to run existing Windows apps on these tablets. However, existing apps will not be Metro- or touch-enabled, which means that to use them you will need a tablet with a stylus. Microsoft is pushing software vendors to build new apps that are touch-enabled to take advantage of the Metro UI, but at launch we expect fewer than 10,000 Metro apps for Windows 8 will be available."

Word count: 136 words
--Average sentence length: 19 words (27, 10, 16, 10, 15, 23, 35)
--Words with 3+ syllables: 6 percent (8/136 words)
--Fog Index: (19+6)*.4 = 10 (no rounding)

By condensing some of the longer sentences, we were also able to trim the percentage of longer words. This helped us to bring this excerpt's Fog Index down from 13 to 10, a reduction of nearly 25 percent.

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