Appendix A: Word Count Analysis

This appendix is a supporting page for Reaction to John Broderick’s “Make no mistake. America is broken.

I did a word count analysis of each paragraph and sentence of Broderick: Make no mistake. America is broken. Table A1 shows the results. There are five paragraphs listed in the top row. The first column is an index of the sentence location in the paragraph. The word count for each sentence can then be looked up by using the paragraph and sentence. For example, paragraph 1 (P1), sentence 3 index (S3) contains 55 words. The total number of words in each paragraph are indicated in the bottom row. So, P1 has 215 words. Finally, the entire piece contains 581 words, as seen in the rightmost cell of the bottom row.

Table A1: Word Count Analysis by Paragraph and Sentence of Broderick: Make no mistake. America is broken.

Sentence IndexParagraph 1Paragraph 2Paragraph 3Paragraph 4Paragraph 5
13412866
2312114
355342129
42127334
5155165
623586
7161816
810215
9165
1018
116
124
137
1418
Word Count215168108846

Table A2 is a summary of the word count statistics for each paragraph.  Looking at the second cell of the second row, P1 contains (215/581)*100%  words, or 37% of the total words. I have labeled this as % of words in Table A2.  The last row of the table is the cumulative number of words in the document. For example, by the time a reader has finished reading the second paragraph, they have read 37% (P1) and 29% (P2) for a cumulative of 66% of the words in the document.

Table A2: Word Count Statistics by Paragraph of Broderick: Make no mistake. America is broken

P1P2P3P4P5
Word Count215168108846581
% of words37%29%19%14%1%100%
Cumulative37%66%85%99%100%

Table A3 is a summary of the sentence count statistics by paragraph. Looking at the second cell of the second row, P1 contains (14/38)*100%  sentences, or 37% of the total sentences. I have labeled this as % of sentences in Table A3.  The last row of the table is the cumulative number of sentences in the document. For example, by the time a reader has finished reading the second paragraph, they have read 37% (P1) and 24% (P2) for a cumulative of 61% of the sentences in the document.

Table A3 summary of the sentence count  statistics by paragraph.

P1P2P3P4P5
Sentence Count14986138
% of Sentences37%24%21%16%3%100%
Cumulative37%61%82%97%100%

Readability of Long Sentences

There are several long sentences in Broderick’s opinion piece. The longest sentence has 55 words (P1, S3). I evaluated the six longest sentences using the Flesch Reading Ease Score. [22]. The results are provided in Table A4. 

The Flesch Reading Ease Score for the six longest sentences range from “Difficult to read” to ‘Extremely difficult to read”

Table A4 Flesch reading ease score and Interpretation for longest sentences

ParagraphSentenceWord Count% all wordsCharactersSyllablesFlesch reading ease scoreInterpretation
13559.5%344946.4Extremely difficult to read
21417.1%2407118.7Very difficult to read
23345.9%2166221.5Very difficult to read
44345.9%1985730.5Difficult to read
43295.0%1875910Very difficult to read
31284.8%1875318.3Very difficult to read

I also looked at the readability of each paragraph and the entire Broderick document. I relied on two methods. First, I used the Flesch reading ease score calculated by Character Calculator https://charactercalculator.com/flesch-reading-ease/  These scores are presented in the fourth row of the table A5. Next, I calculated my own version of the Flesch reading ease score using the formula: 

206.835 – 1.015*(total words/total sentences) – 84.6* total sentences/total words)

My results were slightly different as seen by comparing the 8th row of the table (Calc. Flesch reading ease score) with the 4th row. One source of the discrepancy was that Character Calculator computed the term  6th as two words instead of one. These minor differences didn’t affect the Flesch reading ease score Interpretation for individual paragraphs or the entire document. In both cases, Broderick’s work was assessed as difficult to read.

Table A5 Flesch reading ease score and Interpretation for Broderick document [1]

P1P2P3P4P5Total
Word Count215168108846581
Sentences14986138
Syllables3712781801489986
Flesch reading ease score45.348.650.945.273.948.0
Flesch reading ease score InterpretationDifficult to read.Difficult to read.Fairly difficult to read.Difficult to read.Fairly easy to readDifficult to read.
Total Words per total sentences15.418.713.514.06.015.3
Total syllables per total words1.731.651.671.761.501.70
Calc. Flesch reading ease score45.347.952.143.673.847.7
Calc. Flesch reading ease score InterpretationDifficult to read.Difficult to read.Fairly difficult to read.Difficult to read.Fairly easy to readDifficult to read.

[22] Flesch Reading Ease Score description: 

“Most times, a readability score helps you know how easy it is to read content or passage. It helps you know the educational level that one has to be in to read a text without a hassle.

The Flesch reading ease score indicates the understandability of a passage with a number that ranges from 0 to 100. It shows how difficult it is to understand the content. The higher scores mean that the content is easy to read and understand.”

The formula for Flesch reading ease score is:

206.835 – 1.015 × (total words ÷ total sentences) – 84.6 × (total syllables ÷ total words)

Interpreted Flesch reading ease scores:

ScoreGradeSummary
90 – 1005th gradeVery easy to read
80 – 906th gradeEasy to read
70 – 807th gradeFairly easy to read
60 – 708th & 9th gradePlain English
50 – 6010th to 12th gradeFairly difficult to read.
30 – 50CollegeDifficult to read.
10 – 30College graduateVery difficult to read
0 – 10ProfessionalExtremely difficult to read

Source: Flesch Reading Ease Score – Reading and Grade Level Calculator, 

https://charactercalculator.com/flesch-reading-ease/ accessed 7 January 2022

3 thoughts on “Appendix A: Word Count Analysis

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