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Ken Ward's Writing Pages
Writing: Using Readability WriteItRead The Problem

Main Page: Readability Software
Page Contents


The Problem: They do not understand us

When we write something, we are unable to judge whether what we write can be understood by our intended readers. To us, it is as clear as a bell. But our readers might not agree. And they might not tell us.

We might not solicit feedback because we don't want to hear the answer. There are many stories, such as juries understanding only about half of their instructions. Patients who do not understand their doctors. And much more known -- students who do not understand their teachers. The shocking result is that we cannot understand what is going on: how can something which is so simple to us be incomprehensible to others?

How can we know how our writing will be received?

The obvious answer is to test it with our intended readers. This also means that if the results aren't satisfactory, we need to re-write and re-test. In most cases this might be impractical. Of course, for those writing on the web, it can be easier. They can try out various versions and compare the responses they get. For writers in health care, it may be more difficult. In any case, testing is time consuming and expensive.

If our own judgment of our own writing cannot be relied upon, and testing is impractical, the easy answer is to use a formula.

This part of the site is concerned with the computer software, so the emphasis is on using the computer to estimate the grade level of our writing.








Readability Software

Ken Ward's Writing Pages

The Last Place in Space
- by Ken Ward

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The Last Place in Space