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How Can I Simplify My Writing Using Readability Formulas? by Brian Scott
The crux of any document is to convey a message. Keeping in mind the target audience, your text should communicate the contents effectively. If the readability level of your text is too hard for your target audience, your first reaction should be to simplify the text. Simplifying your text reduces the readability level and ensures your target reader can process and comprehend your material.
Here are some tips to simplify your writing to reduce the reading level of your document:
1. Use short sentences with commonly used words. This is generally the best way to write clearly for any audience. Try to restrict sentence length to 20 words. Simplicity in documents is vital. Studies have shown that majority of Americans have average reading capabilities. If you can re-word or re-state your ideas using simpler words, then do so (unless the target audience has higher reading grade level).
2. Besides simplicity in your documents, be brief and precise in your writing. If you can state the same point fewer words, then dont go on elaborating. Every reader prefers small text that conveys the information precisely.
3. Use headings, sub-headings, bullets, numbers, tables, highlighters, and text formatting (bold, italicized, underline etc.), wherever possible. You can feel the visual difference in your documents with the astute use of these tools. If a document appears inviting, the readers interest will grow towards reading it.
4. Avoid using polysyllabic words (words with more than three syllables), as many readers find such words frustrating to read.
5. The best approach to simplify a document is to compare it with a popular text that also has the same target audience and is considered ideal by that audience.