Readability news, guides, tips and tricks. Four English Words with Spanish Origins Fri, 16 Mar 2018 12:00:00 +0000 Hola, buckaroos! Give your dulcinea an avocado before the cockroaches get it! Those two phrases used four English words with a Spanish etymology and one word of straight Spanish. Here's la historia of those words. Four Words Or Phrases from French That English Really Needs Thu, 15 Mar 2018 12:00:00 +0000 Mon Dieu the French. They are so precisely impeccable about the use of their language. Anyone who has visited France knows that if you attempt to stumble through even the simplest dialogue with a native speaker you had better know what you are saying. Does Readability Matter? Wed, 14 Mar 2018 12:00:00 +0000 What exactly is readability and why does it matter? What is readable content marketing and why do you need it? Thu, 15 Feb 2018 12:00:00 +0000 There’s a wealth of online content aimed at your customers. How are you going to stop your competitors from getting the sale first? Simple. Give customers content that is readable. Four More Words from Japanese That English Really Needs Thu, 01 Feb 2018 03:30:00 +0000 English borrows from a large number of languages. Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic, to name a few. However, some amazing Japanese words are missing. Commas Are Absolutely Awesome, But So Misunderstood Tue, 30 Jan 2018 12:00:00 +0000 Comma errors are ever so common. What are these mistakes and how do we fix them? How CEFR Can Boost Your Content Marketing Fri, 19 Jan 2018 01:00:00 +0000 Readability is an essential tool for copywriters. If readers can’t understand your copy, you can forget about making an impact. This is true across all industries and sectors and can be the difference between a successful online store and one that loses business. Joining the Readability Movement Thu, 04 Jan 2018 12:00:00 +0000 It's the start of the new year and welcomes a new Chief Marketing Officer to the team - Steve Linney. A Murder of Crows and Other Odd Collective Nouns Sun, 24 Dec 2017 01:00:00 +0000 You've heard of a class of students, a pack of dogs, a herd of cows, and probably a school of fish. Find out more about our wonderful collective nouns. Creating Readability Formulas for non-English languages: The Problem of the Syllable Wed, 20 Dec 2017 09:44:19 +0000 The early readability formulas, like the Flesch Reading Ease, were created for use primarily with the English language. However, over recent years the potential value of readability tests for non-English languages has increased. The Benefits of Reading to Children Sat, 16 Dec 2017 09:55:00 +0000 The reading of the bedtime story is a daily ritual in many households and one that can be enjoyed by both parent and child. But, just how important is this ritual? Four Words We Lost That English Really Needs Sat, 02 Dec 2017 09:42:04 +0000 Along with our ongoing campaign to expand English with the finest missing words from other languages, we're also keen to resurrect some missing older English words. Here are a few that deserve a second chance. Make Your Privacy Notices Readable – It’s the Law! Thu, 30 Nov 2017 01:18:17 +0000 In the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, is about to go into effect. What is the GDPR ... and what does it mean for you? Boost Your Email ROI By Improving Your Readability Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:30:57 +0000 Email marketing remains a popular digital marketing tool, and for good reason. Consumers love it, and it’s effective. But if your own email marketing efforts aren’t paying off, it might be a good time to take a good look at your readability. A Piece of the Puzzle Tue, 21 Nov 2017 10:10:51 +0000 English is a diverse language, taking stories from around the world to create sayings and idioms that make speech more interesting. We explore the origins of a few common sayings. 5 English Words We Should Use More Often Fri, 17 Nov 2017 12:00:00 +0000 We've been exploring words from other languages that English really needs, but there are also plenty of words already in English that deserve more attention. Here are some of our favourites. Four of the Most Unexpected Crafters of the English Language Fri, 10 Nov 2017 12:00:00 +0000 One can be forgiven for assuming that English was crafted in a lab. But our language as it today exists is the result of rule-breaking and arbitrary creative thinking on the part of individual outsiders and inimitable characters. Have You Read the Terms and Conditions? The Readability of Insurance Policies Wed, 08 Nov 2017 12:00:00 +0000 It seems that nearly everything we buy these days comes with the recommendation of insurance cover and it’s a merry time for the insurance sellers. But just how readable are insurance policies? In short ... not very. ReadableBot: The Indexer Sat, 04 Nov 2017 10:33:05 +0000 A collection of useful information about the software we wrote for reading webpages and analysing content. Making Sense of English Grammar: To/Too/Two- When is Two O's Too Many? Fri, 03 Nov 2017 12:00:00 +0000 Proper use of "to, too, and two" is one of the most common grammatical errors, but the good news is that it is also one of the most easily avoidable. You do not need to know every conceivable sentence which could possibly contain these words in order to get it right; you really just need to understand two simple rules. Four Words English Needs to Borrow from the Polish Language! Wed, 01 Nov 2017 12:00:00 +0000 From China to Poland, and four more words English really needs. Four Words from Mandarin Chinese That English Really Needs Wed, 25 Oct 2017 11:00:00 +0000 Chinese is a very complex and diverse language. There are several different dialects of Chinese used all across China, as well as thousands of different written characters. These are just a few of the words English should look to mirror. Making Sense of English Grammar: The Em Dash Wed, 18 Oct 2017 11:00:00 +0000 In high school your teacher probably wasn't too picky about whether you used parentheses or commas to set apart ideas within a sentence. However, if you're in college and you want to impress your professor or you're in the real world trying to get something published, a well-used pair of em dashes can really set you apart.   Long "Lives" the Queen? Sat, 14 Oct 2017 11:00:00 +0000 If you live in the English-speaking world, the odds are high that you've heard, or maybe even used, the expression, "Long Live the Queen." But why "live," and not "lives?" Making Sense of English Grammar: Who knows when to use "whom"? Wed, 11 Oct 2017 11:00:00 +0000 When to use "who" or "whom" is something that confuses a great many people. But there's an easy way to check if you're getting it right. Let's Talk About Effect and Affect Wed, 04 Oct 2017 11:00:00 +0000 English can be strange. Words like two, to, and too can cause confusion for readers and writers alike. But, one of the more confusing word combinations comes with effect and affect. 7 Strategies to Simplify Your Writing and Improve Readability Wed, 27 Sep 2017 11:00:00 +0000 So, you've scored your text and your readability is a bit too high. What next? Here are seven strategies you can use to simplify your writing and improve readability. Making Sense of English Grammar: It's You and Me -- Or Is It I? Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:00:00 +0000 Mixing up I and me might be one of the most common English grammar and syntax errors. Find out how to check if you're using the right word at the right time. Insurance Companies Should Provide Readable Policies Thu, 14 Sep 2017 11:00:00 +0000 An insurance policy is a legal document. It’s a contract between the buyer and the insurance company. Find out why insurance companies should be doing all they can to make them readable. Avoiding Apostrophe Abuse Wed, 06 Sep 2017 11:00:00 +0000 The poor apostrophe is so often abused and misused. Sometimes it’s dragged kicking and screaming into a place where it doesn’t want or need to be. Read on to find out more about avoiding apostrophe abuse! Four Words From Italian that English Really Needs Fri, 01 Sep 2017 11:00:00 +0000 Italians can teach English speakers a few things with the following four words that have no English equivalent, which may be one of the reasons travelers find Itay so enchanting. 8 Ways to Improve Readability in Healthcare Tue, 29 Aug 2017 11:00:00 +0000 The role of readability in healthcare should not be underestimated. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to make readability a priority in the healthcare industry! Candidate for a Pullet Surprise Tue, 29 Aug 2017 02:35:55 +0000 Spell checking is a wonderful thing, but it offers no guarantees other than that the words you've used are spelled correctly. If you've used the wrong words, however, you might be in trouble, as this wonderful poem from Jerrold H. Zar illustrates so well. What are Reading Level Calculators? Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:00:00 +0000 People who write for a living or who spend a great deal of time working with and thinking in the language of their industry may mistakenly produce content that is difficult for the average online reader to understand. Luckily, that's where reading level calculators come in.  The Tiny Stories of the English Language Mon, 14 Aug 2017 11:00:00 +0000 The origin stories of words are known as etymology, and here are four of the most interesting of those tiny stories. Why I Moped About My Moped Fri, 11 Aug 2017 11:00:00 +0000 Syllable counting is a hard problem. Some words are simple, but some words just don't behave like you would expect. Among those, the homographs are the most frustrating. Making Sense of English Grammar - How to Correctly Use "Per Se" Mon, 07 Aug 2017 11:00:00 +0000 Have you ever heard someone use the term "per se" in conversation? Ever wonder how it really should be used? Now is your chance to find out. Four Words from Japanese That English Really Needs Mon, 31 Jul 2017 11:00:00 +0000 Why is it that English (particularly the American dialect) is so peppered with loan words? Perhaps it is a reflection of the wabi-sabi of the English language that keeps it open to neologisms. What is wabi-sabi? Read on to find out! Top Four Metaphors of Everyday English Fri, 21 Jul 2017 11:00:00 +0000 If this topic seems unclear to you, allow me to shed some light. You may see metaphors as literary devices, but in fact, our everyday language is full of them. Here are a few built-in English metaphors. Four Words from Greek That English Really Needs Fri, 14 Jul 2017 11:00:00 +0000 You have probably heard that Greek has many words for love. Here are a few of those love-words that the Greeks are keeping to themselves. 4 Tips To Make Your Newsletter More Readable Thu, 06 Jul 2017 11:00:00 +0000 Creating your email newsletter the right way comes down to one big thing – readability. If you can’t read it quickly, there is no point in sending it. Here are some simple tips to help make your email newsletters more readable. Four Foreign-Language Books With Untranslatable Titles Fri, 30 Jun 2017 11:00:00 +0000 While English is one of the most flexible languages in the world, boasting one of the largest vocabularies, certain ideas exist beyond its realm of possible expression. It is up to translators to approximate them. In some instances, however, this is impossible. Four Silly Sounding English Words Fri, 23 Jun 2017 11:00:00 +0000 Four English words that sound a bit too silly to be real. With Conjunctions, We Begin Sentences Fri, 16 Jun 2017 11:00:00 +0000 It’s an old rule that we shouldn’t begin sentences with a coordinating conjunction. People often break this rule by starting sentences with and, but, and so. The fact is that this rule is not a rule at all. It’s simply a long-standing (and incorrect) belief. Why The Readability Of Your Newsletter Is Important For Everyone Fri, 09 Jun 2017 11:00:00 +0000 We see poorly written and difficult to read material seemingly everywhere. That is quite shocking considering the impact and importance of modern newsletters. Find out more about why newsletter readability matters. Making Sense of English Grammar: 5 English Words That Mean Their Opposite Fri, 02 Jun 2017 11:00:00 +0000 English teachers and grammarians alike were literally upset over how the word literally came to literally mean the opposite of its meaning, causing their faces to literally melt. But this isn't the first word in the English language to mean its opposite. Improve the Readability of Your Writing in 60 Seconds Thu, 25 May 2017 11:00:00 +0000 Your success as a writer hinges upon your commitment to constantly improving the readability of your copy. Failure to make readability a priority can lead readers to abandon your copy at first sight. Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening by following a few simple measures before you finalize your copy. The Coleman-Liau Index Mon, 22 May 2017 11:00:00 +0000 The Coleman-Liau index is a little younger than some of our other indexes, and is popular with those who require readability scoring for legal purposes. It doesn't use syllable counting, instead using word and sentence lengths, and for that reason it is also more useful than some other algorithms for measuring the readability of non-English content. Making Sense of English Grammar: Feeding Your Ego - When To Use 'Me' or 'I' Sun, 21 May 2017 11:00:00 +0000 One of the first things you realise when you start to learn another language is how much simplicity there is in English. Only one for for "the"? Madness! But we still have our share of complicated rules, and use of personal pronouns tends to trip up even experienced grammarians from time to time. Making Sense of English Grammar: Using Common Latin Abbreviations Mon, 15 May 2017 03:54:14 +0000 A huge proportion of English comes from Latin root, and abbreviatons like "i.e.", "e.g." and "etc." are a common source of confusion. 5 Tips for Writing a Readable Resume Sun, 14 May 2017 08:52:38 +0000 Six seconds is all the time you have for your resume to stand out and make a great and lasting first impression. You probably want to make those seconds count. Making Sense of English Grammar: The Semicolon Mon, 08 May 2017 03:52:23 +0000 The semicolon is one of the most commonly misunderstood and misused pieces of punctuation in English. Put your confusion to bed with our guide to getting the most out of it. Four Spanish Words That English Really Needs Mon, 01 May 2017 03:50:08 +0000 Continuing our ongoing mission to expand English to include the words and phrases that make other languages so colourful, here are four more words English really needs - this time from Spanish. English: It's All Greek To Me Sun, 23 Apr 2017 11:00:00 +0000 English has its roots in many different places - Latin, French and, of course, Ancient Greek. The Ogden Basic English Word List Wed, 19 Apr 2017 11:00:00 +0000 Although not a Readability algorithm, the Ogden Basic English Word List is a valuable asset to those teaching or learning English. The 850 Ogden words are intended to be a starting point for anyone learning English. By popular request, here is the full list of the 850 words that make up the Ogden list. Four Eponymous English Words Sun, 16 Apr 2017 11:00:00 +0000 "Eponyms" - where the name of a particular person or place becomes a common word in a language and the name of an item or object - are more common than you might think. Here are some examples. How To Choose The Right Readability Formula Tue, 04 Apr 2017 11:00:00 +0000 Not sure which is the best readability score to use for your content? Read our guide to different use cases for readability scoring to find out which algorithm will suit your needs best. The Five Lost Letters of The English Language Sun, 02 Apr 2017 11:00:00 +0000 The English language didn't always have 26 letters. Along the way, we carelessly lost a few of the more interesting ones. Here are our five favourites. The Dale-Chall Word List Thu, 30 Mar 2017 11:00:00 +0000 One of the algorithms we use to score your text is the New Dale-Chall Readability Formula, which bases its score on a count of the words that do not appear on its word list. Those it describes as difficult words. By popular request, here is the full list of the 3,000 words the Dale-Chall formula counts as "easy" words. The Gunning Fog Index Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:00:00 +0000 The Gunning Fog index (1944) is a commonly cited readability scoring formula. But, what do the scores mean? How did the formula come about? And when is the test most useful? Four Words from German That English Really Needs Sun, 26 Mar 2017 11:00:00 +0000 We really, really like the word "kummerspeck", so we decided to take a look at a few more lovely German words that English really needs. Spache Readability Formula Word List Fri, 24 Mar 2017 11:37:51 +0000 The Spache Readability Formula is intended for use in analysing texts intended for younger students - grade four and below. It uses a list of common words to calculate its readability scores, and here there are for your reference. Four More Words The English Language Really Needs Mon, 20 Mar 2017 12:00:00 +0000 We hope you liked our last run-down of a few words that other languages have and that are clearly missing from English. Here are some more! Mistakes Were Made: Understanding Passive Voice Mon, 13 Mar 2017 02:18:06 +0000 Passive Voice might be one of the most common grammatical issues highlighted by editors, and there are no shortage of reasons people give for why - it's "boring", "wordy", "vague" and even "confusing". Learn how to spot it so you can keep your use under control! Death By (Poor) Readability Fri, 10 Mar 2017 10:26:46 +0000 Readability of health information - medicine labels, advice, instructions, consent forms and more - is incredibly important. Misunderstandings can lead to serious consequences. Find out more about why readability is important in medical text. Four English Words That Have Two Opposite Meanings Mon, 06 Mar 2017 12:00:00 +0000 The English language can be very strange indeed. In fact, it's so strange that there are many words which have two meanings (at least) and those meanings are the opposite of each other. How's that for confusing? Four Words the English Language Really Needs Tue, 28 Feb 2017 09:43:50 +0000 English is constantly expanding, robbing words from every language it meets. Still, there are some words where no English translation does them justice. Here are a few of our favourites. We Support Read Aloud Sun, 26 Feb 2017 02:40:11 +0000 Some campaigns just sell themselves, and this is one of those. Reading to kids is one of the greatest pleasures of parenthood and has huge benefits for the children. Find out more about Read Aloud, and join the campaign! Inspire Your Way Out Of Writer's Block! Fri, 24 Feb 2017 12:21:22 +0000 Every writer, however brilliant, will at some point be faced with writer’s block. So, how can you tempt inspiration out of the shadows and words onto the page? The Importance of Readability of User Generated Content Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:59:14 +0000 Marketers have become increasingly aware of the importance of readability in getting customers engaged in their products and services. By ensuring text is easily readable, marketers can communicate their messages in a clear and engaging way their customers will respond to. A New Domain! Wed, 08 Feb 2017 12:00:00 +0000 After several years at our previous domain name,, we've taken the decision to move, to! read on to find out more. The Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Thu, 26 Jan 2017 03:45:13 +0000 What are "The Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level" and what do the scores actually mean? Readability for Marketers Mon, 12 Dec 2016 01:00:07 +0000 There is growing evidence that the readability of text not only impacts the conversion rate of that text, but that search engines are now taking more notice of readability in their algorithms! If you're a marketer and you didn't know about readability scoring, now is the time to find out more. Readability for Researchers Wed, 30 Nov 2016 01:02:22 +0000 It's tough to overstate the importance of communication in research. All too often good work fails to receive the attention it deserves, just because it wasn't presented with the reader in mind. Readability scoring of research before publication gives you a chance to make sure your work is presented in the best possible way. Readability for Teachers Mon, 14 Nov 2016 12:56:51 +0000 Readability scoring grew out of the requirements of teachers. How do you decide what materials to show a class? How can you analyse, objectively, a piece of text to tell if it is appropriate to a particular age? Those are the questions readability scoring was created to answer. 5 Steps to Improving Readability Mon, 24 Oct 2016 11:00:00 +0000 Measuring readability is just the first step in improving your content - you have to act on those measurements as well! We've put together a short guide, with examples, to improving copy using Readability for Authors Sat, 22 Oct 2016 11:00:00 +0000 For successful authors, checking for clichés, adverbs and passive voice problems is the job of their editor. For the rest of us, though, editing is a painstaking and laborious process and it's very easy to miss something. Read on to find out how can take some of the pain out of spotting and fixing editorial problems. 12 Tips for Writing a Killer Blog Tue, 30 Aug 2016 11:00:00 +0000 It's always great to see being useful to people, and even more so when it's recommended by its users to others! This great set of 12 tips for improving your blogging features in the number 1 spot! Now With Live Feedback! Mon, 08 Aug 2016 12:00:00 +0000 We want to be more than just a provider of simple numeric feedback about the quality of your text, and so did many of you. So we improved it! What Is Readability? Fri, 22 Jul 2016 11:00:00 +0000 Wondering what "readability" means and what a "readability score" is useful for? You're looking in the right place! Read on for a potted history of readability, along with a few examples of modern-day usage. Getting Started with Premium Wed, 01 Jun 2016 11:00:00 +0000 Curious what's included in's premium services? Here's a rundown of the tools and features you can enjoy as a premium subscriber. Welcome to the Blog! Thu, 12 May 2016 12:00:00 +0000 We love language, so it's about time we started talking about it! Our blog will be filled with interesting readability news, research, case studies and curiosities of language.