A text’s readability is considered optimal when it reads fluently and its content is easily understood by the target audience. It is measured according to various elements in the text, particularly the length of words and sentences, as well as the accessibility of its vocabulary. Antidote provides you a list of the elements in a text that may be detrimental to readability, prompting you to examine them more closely.
Overly long sentences can confuse your readers or slow them down. Separate your ideas and divide up long sentences using a period or a semicolon. But be careful not to introduce unnecessary repetitions!
- The word count does not include punctuation.
- Set the threshold, i.e. the number of words, above which the corrector will consider a sentence as being too long. This threshold can vary depending on your style or the nature of the text. By default, Antidote sets the threshold at 45 words or more.
- The list of detections sorts sentences according to their order in a text. If you want to work through them in order of length, check the Sort by length option.
Sequences of nested phrases can affect the flow of your text and make it hard to understand. The corrector flags those sentences which would benefit from a paraphrase with fewer embedded modifiers. To make things easier, the prepositions, conjunctions and possessives that introduce these phrases are highlighted.
Long words can be detrimental to a text’s readability, especially if they are not in frequent use and contain a large number of both letters and syllables. Try not to use them excessively, particularly in texts written to be read aloud, or your reader might stumble!
- A slider allows you to choose whether to flag all long words, or those of varying degrees of significance, according to frequency and number of syllables.
Certain uncommon words can hinder your readers’ comprehension of the text. These include, for example, highly technical terms, neologisms, or terms that are no longer in use. The Rare words filter reveals all such words that are not frequently used, allowing you to modify them for your readers’ benefit. Replace them, if need be, with a more common synonym, or paraphrase them.
- A slider allows you to adjust the number of rare words that are flagged, according to their relative rarity.
Certain expressions that originate in other languages are well established in English (e.g. curriculum vitae). However, others are less common and may make your text more difficult to understand. Make sure that they are correctly used and adapted to your intended readership. If needed, you can choose a more universal synonym by selecting Synonyms of “word” from the context (right click) menu.
The Unknown words filter flags all terms that are not known by Antidote’s dictionaries. If your readers don’t know one of them either, they may find certain passages difficult to understand. You may want to specify its meaning, or replace it with a more universal synonym by selecting Synonyms of “word” from the context (right click) menu.
- Unknown words are also grouped together in the list of detections (right panel) in the corrector’s Language view.
Abbreviations lighten a text by reducing the length of frequent words; acronyms avoid the repetition of complex expressions. Make sure that your text is clearly understandable by defining acronyms the first time that they are used, even if you consider them to be well known.
- The category does not flag abbreviations for forms of address such as Mr., Mrs. or Ms.