Two Futures
october 1997
I got a new program that grades writing. It counts how many syllables words contain and how long sentences are. From this information, it generates two scores, Gunning's fog index and Flesch's index and grade level. This paragraph describes the program's grading methods, its fog score is 11 and its Flesch is 105 (less than grade 5). I'll rewrite this paragraph to make it parallel to my level of education.
I, the head behind the hand behind the written voice you now read, have acquired, quite illegally I'm afraid, a new computer application which amongst the multitude of other wonderful features bestowed upon and within its majestic non-physical self, it's programmers have packaged and reduced wisdom enough to grade whichever written text is selected upon invocation. Basing its findings upon several criteria, including the number of syllables contained per word, the percentage of third level multi-syllabic words, and the character count across every noun, verb, adjective, sentence and paragraph; the diminutive program calculates two scores (well, really two and a half). The first score is Gunning's Fog index, which tends to return a smaller range of numbers; score two is Flesch's index and grade level (an indicator of placement into a theoretical public school) where one strives for lower numbers. This paragraph, loquacious though it may be, exactly parallels the paragraph that was its predecessor. The differences, besides the more vivacious and daringly opulent style, are the telling fact that the fog score of the paragraph you are now close to finishing was a stunning 22, while its Flesch score was a ground-skimming 14. Though potentially hampered by the truncated duration of this soliloquy, the sum of my words have risen and grown into a more acceptable judicature--college or university student. My parents second mortgage was never better spent.

Two Futures © Joe Maller 1997-2000