The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

4 April 2003

Syntax assessment

In the most recent chapter of his ongoing Book of Numbers, Oscar Jr. considers the postings on this site, and after applying the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level formula, determines it to be written at a grade level of 9.6: that is, between ninth and tenth grades.

I find this conclusion inarguable — most of what I post is sophomoric, or almost so — but there's a small credibility problem, in that Oscar, in describing his 11-blog sample, pronounces mine to be "popular". As if.

Posted at 7:36 PM to Blogorrhea


The good new: 9.6 was also the grade level of the great Bill Whittle post that you linked and every(sane)one in the Blogosphere has raved about.

The bad news: in my small sample of 11 blogs, 9.6 places you directly between me (9.4) and Silflay Hraka (9.8). Shudder.

And if a grade level of 9.6 is sophomoric, how do we describe the writings of the justifiably-acclaimed Lileks (7.0)?

As for popularity, I read somewhere that you have nine regular readers. To me, that is popular, damnit!

Oh, and thanks for stopping by.

Posted by: Oscar Jr. at 9:37 PM on 4 April 2003

Anyone who consistently scores above 13 on Flesch-Kincaid is likely either a lobbyist or a postmodern philosopher, two species which I consider to be insufficiently endangered.

Lileks scores what he does, I believe, because his first order of business is cutting the crap: stripping away the platitudinous, the euphemistic and the grandiose, and boiling it down to the crucial stuff. Those of us out here in the Teeming Milieu who are still trying to persuade people we have a writing style — well, maybe someday.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:30 AM on 5 April 2003

Regarding Lileks, very well said, sir. We can aspire...

Then again, that comment scores a Grade Level 12.0, seņor. ;)

Posted by: Oscar Jr. at 10:34 AM on 5 April 2003

A word like "platitudinous" adds 1.5 all by itself.

Posted by: CGHill at 10:53 AM on 5 April 2003

Oh, cr@p. I had a post yesterday that included words like "mollify" and "assiduously". That ain't good.

Posted by: Kevin McGehee at 12:37 PM on 5 April 2003

Let's shoot for a solid 8.0 and wait to hear "Yeah, right, your average eighth-grader is going to understand that."

Posted by: CGHill at 1:21 PM on 5 April 2003

You said it, Kevin. It was an interesting post, but another 12.0.

Then again, it drew this comment:

"mollify" -- what a sexy word!
Posted by: Oscar Jr. at 1:53 PM on 5 April 2003

Some women are perhaps overly impressed by men with large, um, vocabularies.

Posted by: CGHill at 4:22 PM on 5 April 2003