To write simply, check your Fog Index*

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Check your Fog Index

To write clearly and well, generally use short words and
short sentences.

To check your own clarity in writing:

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1. Count how many words you use in an average sentence.
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2. To do that, check any 100 words you have written, in a report or letter.
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3. Divide that 100 by the number of sentences used.
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4. Then count how many "complex" words you have used for every 100 words you have written (a "complex" word is one with three syllables or more - not counting words with capital letters).
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5. Add the two totals together, and then take four tenths of the total. That is your Fog Index.
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.. For example: if you average 20 words to a sentence, and ten complex words in every 100 words, your total is 30. Four-tenths of this is 12. That is your Fog Index.
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.. Readers Digest has a Fog Index of between 8 and 9. Time magazine is about 11. If you're higher than 13 you're hard to read. Churchill's quote below has a Fog Index of 3.2. Except when quoting others, The Learning Revolution has a Fog Index between 8 and 10.
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.. "We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France. We shall fight in the seas and oceans. We shall fight on the beaches, in the fields, in the streets, and in the hills. We shall never surrender." (Winston Churchill)
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.. *Joseph Peart and Jim R. McNamara, in The New Zealand Handbook of Public Relations, published by Mills Publications, Lower Hutt, New Zealand (1987), attribute the invention of the Fog Index to Robert Gunning, an American businessman.

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