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Issue 5.5



Measuring Text Readability

Issue: 5.5 (July/August 2007)
Author: JC Cruz
Author Bio: JC is a freelance technical writer living in British Columbia. He writes for various publications, and teaches origami at the local district library. He can be reached at: anarakisware@icmail.net
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 42,480
Starting Page Number: 20
Article Number: 5509
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Download Icon 5509.zip Updated: 2013-03-11 19:08:00

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Excerpt of article text...

Welcome to the first in a series of articles on the subject of text processing and manipulation. Today, we will look into the topic of readability metrics. We will learn one common form of metric and use REALbasic to implement and test that metric.

The Concept of Readability

Word processors are both a boon and bane to writers. They allow writers to edit a document without retyping the whole thing. They can check a document's spelling and grammar, tasks that are otherwise tedious to do by hand. Some even have built-in dictionaries to help writers decide if they chose the right words.

But word processors do not always guarantee quality writing. A paragraph can have good spelling and grammar but still have other faults. For instance, it may be too complex or too long to be readable. Or it may consist of too many specialized words, also known as jargon. One way to check if the document is easily readable is to conduct a readability survey(see sidebar). Another way is to use readability metrics.

Readability Metrics

Readability metrics are a set of formulae for rating the complexity of a sentence or group of sentences. They serve as an alternative to a readability survey.

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