Many commentators around the world have no doubt already weighed in on the strengths, content, and feeling of U.S. President Obama's inaugural speech. Here is a look at the mechanics:
Number of words: 2414 (according to Microsoft Word)
Number of sentences: 110
Number of words per sentence: 21.4 (Microsoft) or 21.9 (my calculator)
Grade level, based on sentence length and word length: 8.3
Sentences with passive verbs: 10 percent (Examples: "The capital was abandoned"; "It must be earned.")
Number of times "I" appears: 3
Number of times "we" appears: 62
Number of times "my" appears: 2
Number of times "our" appears: 66
Number of times "you" or "your" appears: 17 (typically referring to people outside the U.S.)
Number of sentences that begin with a conjunction: 15 (and, but, so, nor, yet)
Here are a few observations I share, which are based on the text:
1. You can move a nation and a world writing at 8th-grade level.
2. It is perfectly okay to use passive verbs selectively. (Search this blog for "passive verbs" to learn more.)
3. To create a sense of community, use "we"–not "I" or "you."
4. To communicate in an engaging way, feel free to begin sentences with conjunctions such as "but" and "and." The President's speech includes not one "however," "moreover," or "in addition."
What did you observe about the inaugural address?