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The Fog Index

Posted on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 4:42 PM

This month: An excerpt from Huffington Post.

Let's assess the Fog Index of a sample from an April 27 Huffington Post article ("Mobile Is a Lifestyle, Not a Technology" by Daniel Newman). Here's the text:

"Business has always been focused on generating revenue, but no longer is making money the only goal. Blindly following successful business models doesn't cut it anymore. Following the well-beaten path to success is a thing of past, as we see innovation cutting new pathways for us. Businesses that are broadening their focus to maximize their employees' potential and productivity, as well as building and embracing a culture of innovation and change, will find themselves well-suited to this new work world. Mobility opens doors to flexibility and the freedom to do more. When employees are not tethered to their desks, when they are treated like trusted adults instead of clock punchers, they tend to be more passionate about their work and more dedicated to your brand and business."

--Word count: 127 words
--Average sentence length: 21 words (17, 9, 20, 34, 11, 36)
--Words with 3+ syllables: 11 percent (14/127 words)
--Fog Index: (21+11)*.4 = 12 (no rounding)

Business writing can get unwieldy in a hurry. This excerpt does a nice job of keeping jargon-induced fog to a minimum. We only need to cut a point to fall within ideal range. Let's see what we can do:

"Business has always been focused on making money, but no longer is that the only goal. Blindly following proven business models doesn't cut it anymore. Following the well-beaten path to success is a thing of past, as we see innovation cutting new pathways for us. Businesses that maximize employee potential and output, as well as build and embrace a culture of innovation and change, will find themselves well-suited to this new work world. Mobility opens doors to flexibility and the freedom to do more. When employees are not tethered to their desks, when they are treated like trusted adults instead of clock punchers, they tend to be more passionate about their work and more devoted to your brand and business."

--Word count: 120 words
--Average sentence length: 20 words (16, 9, 20, 28, 11, 36)
--Words with 3+ syllables: 7 percent (9/121 words)
--Fog Index: (20+7)*.4 = 10 (no rounding)

We made very few changes to the original sample, but we made those changes count. In cutting 5 longer words and trimming total word count slightly, we were able to cut 2 points from the Fog Score (from 12.8 to 10.8, to be exact). There wasn't much to be done here -- just a light editorial touch to bring the Fog below 12.

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