Readability Is a Four-Letter Word

John L. Selzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While readability formulas are intended to help writers and teachers of business communications, the formulas have in fact been counter-productive in several ways. The formulas don’t really help writers to predict the reada bility of their prose because they oversimplify, because they have not been calibrated for adult readers, and because reading is so highly individual. In addition, the formulas don’t help writers to produce readable documents either; though short sentences and words correlate with difficulty, they do not cause difficulty. Finally, the formulas hamper the teaching of business writing because they emphasize written products instead of the process of writing and because they discourage teachers from employing practical techniques that can develop students’ abilities to manipulate stylistic options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-34
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business Communication
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981

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Readability
Business writing
Business communication
Correlates

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Selzer, John L. / Readability Is a Four-Letter Word. In: Journal of Business Communication. 1981 ; Vol. 18, No. 4. pp. 23-34.
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Readability Is a Four-Letter Word. / Selzer, John L.

In: Journal of Business Communication, Vol. 18, No. 4, 01.01.1981, p. 23-34.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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