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.
- When you click on a detection in the text, a tooltip will display offering a number of commands such as Edit, Synonyms and Ignore. View the Characteristics of the detections in the Style view section for more details. The tooltip does is not shown if you click in the list of detections. This avoids hiding the text and hindering any reformulations or replacements you wish to make.
- The tooltips include a link to an article in the guides corresponding to the detection. Here, find arguments to explain the detection and get inspiration from the example reformulations.
Readability is calculated using different elements of the text which vary in nature and importance according to the formula used. Antidote’s own index, calculated using an original formula, is shown in the list of detections alongside the well-known indexes Flesch, Flesch-Kincaid, Gunning fog and Coleman-Liau. To find out more, click on , which is shown to the right of the section’s title when the mouse is hovered over.
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 limit, i.e. the number of words, above which the corrector will consider a sentence as being too long. This limit can vary depending on your style or the nature of the text. By default, Antidote sets the limit 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 number of words 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! If needed, replace a long word with a shorter synonym using the Synonyms command in the tooltip, also accessible by double-clicking the word in the text.
- A slider in the options panel 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. If needed, replace a rare word with a more common synonym using the Synonyms command in the tooltip, also accessible by double-clicking the word in the text.
- A slider in the options panel 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, replace a foreign expressions using the Synonyms command in the tooltip, also accessible by double-clicking the word in the text.
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.
- 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.