Grammarly is one of the most popular online writing and correction tools and for good reason. With its grammar and spelling corrections and its AI-powered writing improvement suggestions, it’s a powerful program designed to help writers, content creators, students and anyone who needs to make their writing clearer and more concise.
One of Grammarly’s more notable features is its Readability Score, which tells users how easy (or hard) their text is to read. But what does the Grammarly Readability Score really mean and how useful is it for different types of writing? Let’s take a closer look:
Understanding the Grammarly Readability Score
Rather than use a popular readability formula like Flesch Kincaid, Grammarly gives users its own concept of a readability score, which is based on many different factors, including:
- Sentence length
- Word choice
- Vocabulary complexity
- Overall clarity
Other reading formulas take some or all of these points into consideration as well, but they often try to distill this information down into an approximate U.S. grade level which, as we’ll see further down in the article, has its pros and cons.
As a result, the Grammarly Readability Score results in a number from 0-100, with zero being something that’s very difficult to read, and 100 being something that’s very easy to read.
Benefits of the Grammarly Readability Score
Rather than assigning an approximate U.S. grade level to the readability of your content, the Grammarly Readability Score works differently. As you write, the score gives you instant feedback on the difficulty or simplicity of your content, generating a score that helps you better understand your writing style, and note any possible issues that could detract from the overall comprehension.
Whether you’re a writer, content publisher, VSL writer or other type of content creator, getting instant feedback can be an invaluable way of improving the quality and readability of your writing. Writers of all types should always be striving to improve, so having a readability score is a clear indication of how well-understood your content is, and what you can change to make it even better.
How Accurate is the Grammarly Readability Score?
Since Grammarly isn’t rooted in a specific formula, it’s understandable that many writers and content creators would ask how accurate it really is. Generally-speaking, the readability score is a good, solid and accurate gauge as to how understandable your content is, but it shouldn’t be used as the be-all, end-all barometer of readability.
But the same also applies for other readability formulas as well, since there is no “one size fits all” formula that works for every type of content, all of the time. Different styles of writing, different writing genres and even the audience itself may differ so much that having a readability score in and of itself doesn’t do much good. It’s much better to look at your Grammarly Readability Score in the context of the goals you’re looking to achieve with your writing.
How Does Grammarly “Score” Readability?
Grammarly tries to help you solve the issue of readability and comprehension among your readers by classifying readability scores into three different categories:
- General Audiences
- Knowledgeable Readers
- Very Knowledgeable Readers
Each category has a brief description along with an approximate reading level. If you need to tailor your content to a specific audience (such as highly academic writing, professional writing or general writing) this type of categorization can help you write more authentically for that audience.
How Do You Improve Your Readability Score in Grammarly?
In addition to helping you categorize your document’s readability and providing instant feedback, Grammarly also provides you with ongoing suggestions on how to improve your readability score. It might suggest, for instance, using shorter sentences or exchanging a complex word for a more simple one. It might highlight areas where your phrasing isn’t clear and what you could do to clarify it.
Who is the Grammarly Readability Score Best For?
Grammarly’s Readability Score is particularly helpful for online content creators. Given that the average user’s attention span is limited to a few fractions of a second, anything that you can do to help optimize your content and keep them engaged is a definite plus.
Making it so that readers can “visually digest” your content at a glance can help keep them reading and interacting with your page longer.
In addition to online content creators, the Grammarly Readability Score is also ideal for non-native English speakers looking to improve their writing. English is a complex language and as any native will tell you, “They’re are no rules.” Writing in English can be a struggle and using a readability tool can help them identify areas where their writing may be hard to understand or less coherent, allowing them to make changes to improve their overall proficiency with the language.
What are the Drawbacks of the Grammarly Readability Score?
As with any readability formula or tool, there are a few issues to be aware of.
Cannot Accurately Evaluate the Coherence and “Flow” Of a Piece
Grammarly’s Readability Score is based on an algorithm that doesn’t take into account subtle or nuanced use of language. Although it does look at sentence structure and overall complexity of vocabulary, it can’t accurately measure the “flow” and stylistic choices of the writer. This can be a good thing, however, since those points are subjective and illustrate one more area where a more human touch is needed in order to accurately judge them.
Doesn’t Take Technical or Complex Terminology Into Account
If you write highly complex or technical pieces, the Readability tool may encourage you to simplify them to the point that the original text has lost its core meaning. Be cautious about checking the readability of overly complex or technical content as you may lose out on the accuracy and detail of the information you’re presenting in an attempt to simplify it.
Should Not Be Used as the Only Metric to Measure Readability
As noted above, you shouldn’t use the Grammarly Readability Score only metric in evaluating your text. It’s a valuable tool, to be sure, but it can’t take into account things like your creativity, voice, tone, structure and other facets that are needed to create an engaging piece of content.
For this reason, we invite you to try Originality.AI’s free readability tool. Not only will you get a readability score according to Flesch Kincaid, one of the most popular readability formulas online, but you’ll also get scores using several other readability formulas, each with their own respective pros and cons. This can help give you the bigger picture of the overall readability of your content as you work to make it comprehensible to your target audience.
The best part is that you can check your text simply by copying and pasting it into the readability tool and clicking Analyze. For a more in-depth readability check, as well as checking your content for plagiarism and AI writing, subscribe to the premium version of Originality.AI. With prices as low as 1 cent per 100 words scanned, you can check for readability, AI writing, plagiarism and more in just a few clicks, helping you to further improve your writing and keep it authentically human.