STYLE(1)                          User commands                         STYLE(1)

       style - analyse surface characteristics of a document

       style [-L language] [-l length] [-r ari] [file...]
       style [--language language] [--print-long length] [--print-ari ari]
       style -h|--help
       style --version

       Style analyses the surface characteristics of the writing style of a
       document.  It prints various readability grades, length of words,
       sentences and paragraphs.  It can further locate sentences with certain
       characteristics.  If no files are given, the document is read from
       standard input.

       Numbers are counted as words with one syllable.  A sentence is a sequence
       of words, that starts with a capitalised word and ends with a full stop,
       double colon, question mark or exclamation mark.  A single letter
       followed by a dot is considered an abbreviation, so it does not end a
       sentence.  Various multi-letter abbreviations are recognized, they do not
       end a sentence as well.  A paragraph consists of two or more new line

   Readability grades
       Style understands cpp(1) #line lines for being able to give precise
       locations when printing sentences.

       Kincaid formula
              The Kincaid Formula has been developed for Navy training manuals,
              that ranged in difficulty from 5.5 to 16.3.  It is probably best
              applied to technical documents, because it is based on adult
              training manuals rather than school book text.  Dialogs (often
              found in fictional texts) are usually a series of short sentences,
              which lowers the score.  On the other hand, scientific texts with
              many long scientific terms are rated higher, although they are not
              necessarily harder to read for people who are familiar with those

              Kincaid = 11.8*syllables/wds+0.39*wds/sentences-15.59

       Automated Readability Index
              The Automated Readability Index is typically higher than Kincaid
              and Coleman-Liau, but lower than Flesch.

              ARI = 4.71*chars/wds+0.5*wds/sentences-21.43

       Coleman-Liau Formula
              The Coleman-Liau Formula usually gives a lower grade than Kincaid,
              ARI and Flesch when applied to technical documents.

              Coleman-Liau = 5.88*chars/wds-29.5*sent/wds-15.8

       Flesh reading easy formula
              The Flesh reading easy formula has been developed by Flesh in 1948
              and it is based on school text covering grade 3 to 12.  It is wide
              spread, especially in the USA, because of good results and simple
              computation.  The index is usually between 0 (hard) and 100
              (easy), standard English documents averages approximately 60 to
              70.  Applying it to German documents does not deliver good results
              because of the different language structure.

              Flesch Index = 206.835-84.6*syll/wds-1.015*wds/sent

       Fog Index
              The Fog index has been developed by Robert Gunning.  Its value is
              a school grade.  The ``ideal'' Fog Index level is 7 or 8.  A level
              above 12 indicates the writing sample is too hard for most people
              to read.  Only use it on texts of at least hundred words to get
              meaningful results.  Note that a correct implementation would not
              count words of three or more syllables that are proper names,
              combinations of easy words, or made three syllables by suffixes
              such as –ed, –es, or –ing.

              Fog Index = 0.4*(wds/sent+100*((wds >= 3 syll)/wds))

       Lix formula
              The Lix formula developed by Björnsson from Sweden is very simple
              and employs a mapping table as well:

              Lix = wds/sent+100*(wds >= 6 char)/wds

              Index         34   38   41   44   48   51    54    57
              School year      5    6    7    8    9    10    11

              The SMOG-Grading for English texts has been developed by
              McLaughlin in 1969.  Its result is a school grade.

              SMOG-Grading = square root of (((wds >= 3 syll)/sent)*30) + 3

              It has been adapted to German by Bamberger & Vanecek in 1984, who
              changed the constant +3 to -2.

   Word usage
       The word usage counts are intended to help identify excessive use of
       particular parts of speech.

       Verb Phrases
              The category of verbs labeled "to be" identifies phrases using the
              passive voice.  Use the passive voice sparingly, in favor of more
              direct verb forms.  The flag -p causes style to list all
              occurrences of the passive voice.

       The verb category "aux" measures the use of modal auxiliary verbs, such
       as "can", "could", and "should".  Modal auxiliary verbs modify the mood
       of a verb.

              The conjunctions counted by style are coordinating and
              subordinating.  Coordinating conjunctions join grammatically equal
              sentence fragments, such as a noun with a noun, a phrase with a
              phrase, or a clause to a clause.  Coordinating conjunctions are
              "and," "but," "or," "yet," and "nor."

       Subordinating conjunctions connect clauses of unequal status.  A
       subordinating conjunction links a subordinate clause, which is unable to
       stand alone, to an independent clause.  Examples of subordinating
       conjunctions are "because," "although," and "even if."

              Pronouns are contextual references to nouns and noun phrases.
              Documents with few pronouns generally lack cohesiveness and
              fluidity.  Too many pronouns may indicate ambiguity.

              Nominalizations are verbs that are changed to nouns.  Style
              recognizes words that end in "ment," "ance," "ence," or "ion" as
              nominalizations.  Examples are "endowment," "admittance," and
              "nominalization."  Too much nominalization in a document can sound
              abstract and be difficult to understand.  The flag -N causes style
              to list all nominalizations.  The flag -n prints all sentences
              with either the passive voice or a nominalization.

       -L language, --language language
              set the document language (de, en, nl).

       -l length, --print-long length
              print all sentences longer than length words.

       -r ari, --print-ari ari
              print all sentences whose readability index (ARI) is greater than

       -p passive, --print-passive
              print all sentences phrased in the passive voice.

       -N nominalizations, --print-nom
              print all sentences containing nominalizations.

       -n nominalizations-passive, --print-nom-passive
              print all sentences  phrased in the passive voice or containing

       -h, --help
              Print a short usage message.

              Print the version.

       On usage errors, 1 is returned.  Termination caused by lack of memory is
       signalled by exit code 2.

              specifies the default document language.  The default language is

              specifies the document character set.  The default character set
              is ASCII.

       This program is GNU software, copyright 1997–2007 Michael Haardt

       It contains contributions by Jason Petrone <>, Uschi
       Stegemeier <> and Hans Lodder.

       This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
       under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the
       Free Software Foundation; either version 3 of the License, or (at your
       option) any later version.

       This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
       WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
       Public License for more details.

       You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along
       with this program.  If not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc.,
       59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.

       There has been a style command on old UNIX systems, which is now part of
       the AT&T DWB package.  The original version was bound to roff by
       enforcing a call to deroff.

       deroff(1), diction(1)

       Cherry, L.L.; Vesterman, W.: Writing Tools—The STYLE and DICTION
       programs, Computer Science Technical Report 91, Bell Laboratories, Murray
       Hill, N.J. (1981), republished as part of the 4.4BSD User's Supplementary
       Documents by O'Reilly.

       Coleman, M. and Liau,T.L. (1975). 'A computer readability formula
       designed for machine scoring', Journal of Applied Psychology, 60(2),

GNU                             August 30th, 2007                       STYLE(1)