At work the other day, a woman actually wrote these phrases in what was supposed to be a promotional flier: "demonstrated outcomes" and "increased competencies."

In my quest to get her to write like an earthling, I discovered that the healthcare industry has done major studies on the reading abilities of the American public. Here's what they found out:
1. No matter how educated people are, they actually read at a levelthree to five grades lower than the last grade they finished. People who finished high school read at the level of 7th-9th graders.
2. When a prominent newspaper lowered the complexity of their articlesfrom college level to 4th grade, the number of readers shot up by 98 percent.
3. The books of the most popular U.S. novelists (Stephen King, JohnGrisham, etc.) are written at a 7th-grade reading level.
4. Most romance novels, which make up about half of all paperbackssold in the U.S., are written at a 5th-grade reading level.

Healthcare organizations have decided that all the forms and brochures they give to patients should be written at a 6th grade reading level.

To find out what grade level your scripts are written at, import a random five-page section into MS Word and run a spelling/grammar check on it. Select the "readability" option. The last item shown is the grade level.
Lois
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In my quest to get her to write like an earthling, I discovered that the healthcare industry has done major ... novels, which make up about half of all paperbacks sold in the U.S., are written at a 5th-grade reading level.

Lois, I've said this a thousand times. It's one of the first things they teach you in communication class and at the paper. No one wants to read something the equivalent of a text book. Eric's book 6th grade level.
At work the other day, a woman actually wrote these phrases in what was supposed to be a promotional flier: ... and run a spelling/grammar check on it. Select the "readability" option. The last item shown is the grade level. Lois

Here's the 2003 government study - http://tinyurl.com/2g6zbv
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Why yes, as a matter of fact I do.
jaybee
In my quest to get her to write like an ... in the U.S., are written at a 5th-grade reading level.

Lois, I've said this a thousand times. It's one of the first things they teach you in communication class and at the paper. No one wants to read something the equivalent of a text book. Eric's book 6th grade level.

And complexity comes not as much through language as it does through quality of thought, expressed clearly and concisely. That's what they learned me.
Why yes, as a matter of fact I do.

Dead kitties and little dogs that make children cry.

Good stuff.
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To find out what grade level your scripts are written at, import a random five-page section into MS Word and run a spelling/grammar check on it. Select the "readability" option. The last item shown is the grade level.

Uh... level 5.3.
Should I hang my head in shame, or should I be glad?

alt.flame Special Forces
"All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, hope." Winston Churchill
To find out what grade level your scripts are written at, import a random five-page section into MS Word and run a spelling/grammar check on it. Select the "readability" option. The last item shown is the grade level.

When I write dialogue, I generally write it with a lot of sentence fragments, slang and other grammatical errors (much like how people talk). Would this bring down the level considerably?
Phil
1. No matter how educated people are, they actually read at a level three to five grades lower than the last grade they finished. People who finished high school read at the level of 7th-9th graders.

I'm trying to figure out what this means. Does it mean that, in spite of their education they choose reading material that is simpler than what they're capable of absorbing, or that, on average, people don't really attain (or perhaps retain) a level of competency commensurate with their education level?
2. When a prominent newspaper lowered the complexity of their articles from college level to 4th grade, the number of readers shot up by 98 percent.

This one sounds like some sort of urban legend. First, what prominent newspaper could possibly change their editorial style and all their reporters' vocabularies in such a way as to reduce the complexity of their articles by 9 YEARS OF EDUCATION??? Impossible. This would be the equivalent of reducinging Scientific American to the level of Reader's Digest. And if they subscribed to AP or Reuters new services they'd have to simply stop using those services.
Plus, any newspaper that did this would have been undergoing such a massive change that you'd have to assume they were changing audiences as well; that management was changing everything at once, and perhaps marketing to a whole different reader. If there's even a grain of truth to this factoid, and the newspaper doubled its circulation, you'd have to assume they moved from home delivery to being prominently displayed at most supermarket checkout counters. Besides firing their entire creative staff.
3. The books of the most popular U.S. novelists (Stephen King, John Grisham, etc.) are written at a 7th-grade reading level.

If that.
4. Most romance novels, which make up about half of all paperbacks sold in the U.S., are written at a 5th-grade reading level.

Sure. We're including Dan Brown here, right?
Healthcare organizations have decided that all the forms and brochures they give to patients should be written at a 6th grade reading level.

Sounds like a wise decision
To find out what grade level your scripts are written at, import a random five-page section into MS Word and run a spelling/grammar check on it. Select the "readability" option. The last item shown is the grade level.

I'm not sure what the point would be. Most Hollywood readers are pretty smart, and I want to write for people at my own level anyway. That's what I do, that's is the audience I want. I wouldn't enjoy writing less than my best, and if I'm not enjoying writing I may as well go back to dancing at Chippendales.
Alan Brooks

A with an Underwood
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