Looking for writing software which can parse my stories..
November 26, 2008 2:39 PM   Subscribe

When I was in high school, we had a writing lab with some type of mainframe-ish type terminals setup, where there was writing software available which would list frequently repeated words, point out large paragraphs, spelling errors, document complexity, punctuation errors, etc. This was awhile ago, is this type of thing freely available anywhere these days?

I did find one piece of software online which had some of the functionality I remember, but it didn't list them all. I was hoping since this software must be well over 15-20 years old, that it must have been open sourced by now?

So I'm preferring free, love open source (would like to be able to tweak, put online, etc), etc. Suggestions?
posted by ceberon to Technology (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think that Microsoft Word contains something like that. (But of course it isn't free.)
posted by Class Goat at 2:45 PM on November 26, 2008

Response by poster: I'm fairly sure that Word doesn't have all these features. It has spelling & grammar checker of course, but nothing nearly at the level I'm talking about..

Most frequently used words:
really 15
special 12
noway 8

Document grade level: 11

Document complexity on the XYZ scale: 7.5

Average paragraph length: 75.5 words (with suggestions comparing paragraph lengths to certain types of documents)

posted by ceberon at 3:34 PM on November 26, 2008

You can get much of this information on Word by opening the Spelling/Grammar preferences and selecting "Show Readability Statistics." There's an online readability calculator here, but it's busy, and it doesn't give you as much detailed feedback as the program you remember.
posted by bibliowench at 4:24 PM on November 26, 2008

Almost everything you listed is in Word, in readability statistics, like bibliowench said.

Here is what it gives you in the Readability Statistics:


-Sentences per Paragraph
-Words per Sentence
-Characters per Word

-Passive Sentences
-Flesch Reading Ease
-Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level

I have no clue if it had the type of features you mentioned, but a popular word processing program in schools in the past was Bank Street Writer. I remember that they had this in my school when I was younger.
posted by fructose at 5:14 PM on November 26, 2008

I remember the same thing- it was called writer's workbench. Still not free. But as others have mentioned, Word does most of that stuff already.
posted by gjc at 7:48 AM on November 27, 2008

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