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Fog Index

Oct 02, 1993 10:12 PM
by Gerald Schueler

When I said that Michael's article has a high fog index, I simply
meant that it had a lot of big words and long sentences, not that
it is obscure or distorted.  The following is from some stuff I
wrote for PeaceNet, for those who may be interested.

I will explain the Fog Index, for the benefit of those who may
not know about it.  I will briefly describe the Gunning Fog

The Gunning Fog Index is a measure of readability.  A fog index
of 11 means that the material is written on an 11th grade reading
level.  A fog index of 9 means that the text is on a 9th grade
reading level, and so on.  The Army writes all of its field
manuals, for example, on a 7th grade level.

How to calculate:

1.  Choose a random sample of text, about 100 words is preferred.

2.  Count the words and divide by the number of complete
thoughts.  Compound sentences count as 2 thoughts.

3.  This gives the average sentence length.

4.  Count the number of words with 3 or more syllables.  These
are considered to be "hard words."  Do not count proper names,
compound words like 'salesperson,' or verbs made into 3 syllables
by suffixing ing, es, ed, and so on, like 'tresspasses.'

5.  Divide the total number of "hard words" from #4 above by the
total number of words and then multiply by 100.

6.  This gives the percentage of hard words.

7.  Add #6 and #3 (average sentence length + percentage of hard
words) and multiply by 0.4.

8.  This is the fog index in years of education required to read

For best results for a lengthy article, take a random sample from
3 or 4 paragraphs through the text and average the fog indexes
for the whole article (the above calculation should only be done
with about 100 words).

Of course, if you have style programs like RightWriter, you can
get a Gunning fog index instantly.  This short message, for
example, has a fog index of 9.

                     <<** SUMMARY **>>

    The document FOG.IND was analyzed using the rules for
    Technical report or Article writing at the High School
    education level.  It is a WordPerfect document.  The
    marked-up copy is stored in the file FOG.OUT.


    4th        6th       8th       10th      12th      14th
      |****|****|*   |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
    SIMPLE      | ------ GOOD ----- |               COMPLEX
    Readers need a 6th grade level of education.

    The Flesch Index for this document is :  74.831

    The Fog Index for this document is :   9.059

        Number of Words in Document: 288
        Number of Unique Words in Document: 150
        Average Number of Words/Sentence: 14.000


    0.0                      0.5                      1.0
      |****|****|****|****|****|****|*** |    |    |    |
    WEAK                                           STRONG
    The strength of delivery is good, but can be improved.


    0.1                 0.5                 0.9       1.1
      |****|****|**  |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
    TERSE  | ------------ NORMAL ------------ |     WORDY
    The use of adjectives and adverbs is normal.


     1. Most sentences contain multiple clauses.
        Try to use more simple sentences.

                    << WORDS TO REVIEW >>
Review this list for words that may confuse your message.
These include words that are negative, frequently misused,
colloquial, or jargon.  As you review each word, think of
its effect on the reader.
1    readability    (Possible jargon)
              << END OF WORDS TO REVIEW LIST >>
                   <<** END OF SUMMARY **>>

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