Policy

Trump's Inaugural Speech Reading Level Was ‘Extremely Low’

Jan 23, 2017

PRESIDENTIAL READING LEVELS: President Trump may have built his campaign off punchy statements and controversial 140-character bits, but reading level? That’s a new one the folks at LitCharts are calling out. According to a statistical analysis by the company, Trump’s speech at the 58th presidential inaugural address on Friday was at an 8th-grade reading level, which is “extremely low” compared to past inaugural addresses. (Only three past presidents—Dwight Eisenhower (1957), Lyndon Johnson (1965) and George Bush (1989)—scored lower.) Trump’s speech also “had the shortest sentences of any inaugural to date,” with an average of 15 words per sentence, compared to the average of 30 for previous inaugural addresses.

Trump’s speech was hallmarked by phrases like “America will start winning again, winning like never before.” But he isn’t the first president to keep inaugural sentences short. Reading level and sentence length have both been on the decline since Washington in 1789, and only began leveling off with Coolidge in 1925.

Policy

Trump's Inaugural Speech Reading Level Was ‘Extremely Low’

Jan 23, 2017

PRESIDENTIAL READING LEVELS: President Trump may have built his campaign off punchy statements and controversial 140-character bits, but reading level? That’s a new one the folks at LitCharts are calling out. According to a statistical analysis by the company, Trump’s speech at the 58th presidential inaugural address on Friday was at an 8th-grade reading level, which is “extremely low” compared to past inaugural addresses. (Only three past presidents—Dwight Eisenhower (1957), Lyndon Johnson (1965) and George Bush (1989)—scored lower.) Trump’s speech also “had the shortest sentences of any inaugural to date,” with an average of 15 words per sentence, compared to the average of 30 for previous inaugural addresses.

Trump’s speech was hallmarked by phrases like “America will start winning again, winning like never before.” But he isn’t the first president to keep inaugural sentences short. Reading level and sentence length have both been on the decline since Washington in 1789, and only began leveling off with Coolidge in 1925.

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