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Dumb down is a phrase that conveys contempt for your audience: you're using small words and simple phrases because you believe that your audience isn't as smart as you are. That may be true, but you should ask yourself this: If the ideas in your complex sentences and unfamiliar words can be conveyed as well by simpler text, how good a writer are you? Rather ...


One popular tool is the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Score. See, for example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flesch%E2%80%93Kincaid_readability_test. Basically this counts the average number of letters per word and the average number of words per sentence and runs these through a formula to come up with an "appropriate grade level" for the block of text. ...

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