Enjoying the “Gettysburg Address”

Inspired by the PowerPoint wizard’s treatment of “The Gettysburg Address,” I decided to play with a pair of Unix analysis programs– style and diction— and see what would happen to Lincoln’s famous speech.

Here’s the original speech:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

And now the analysis (style first, then diction):

readability grades:
Kincaid: 10.2
ARI: 12.1
Coleman-Liau: 9.1
Flesch Index: 70.4
Fog Index: 13.4
Lix: 40.8 = school year 6
SMOG-Grading: 10.1
sentence info:
1149 characters
272 words, average length 4.22 characters = 1.29 syllables
10 sentences, average length 27.2 words
50% (5) short sentences (at most 22 words)
10% (1) long sentences (at least 37 words)
3 paragraphs, average length 3.3 sentences
0% (0) questions
60% (6) passive sentences
longest sent 82 wds at sent 10; shortest sent 11 wds at sent 3
word usage:
verb types:
to be (8) auxiliary (11)
types as % of total:
conjunctions 5(13) pronouns 16(44) prepositions 9(24)
nominalizations 2(5)
sentence beginnings:
pronoun (5) interrogative pronoun (0) article (2)
subordinating conjunction (0) conjunction (1) preposition (0)

Diction

gettysburg.txt:3: Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing [whether -> (avoid using “or not” after “whether,” unless you mean “regardless of whether”)] that nation, or any nation [so -> (do not use as intensifier)] conceived and [so -> (do not use as intensifier)] dedicated, [can -> (do not confuse with “may”)] long endure.

gettysburg.txt:3: We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that [that -> Double word.] nation [might -> (do not confuse with “may”)] live.

gettysburg.txt:5: But, in a larger sense, we [can not -> (use “cannot” unless you want to put special emphasis on the word “not”)] dedicate — we [can not -> (use “cannot” unless you want to put special emphasis on the word “not”)] consecrate — we [can not -> (use “cannot” unless you want to put special emphasis on the word “not”)] hallow — this ground.

gettysburg.txt:5: The world [will -> (shall is sometimes used with first person pronouns and the future tense. It expresses something you believe will happen, not something that you are determined to do. A drowning man shouts: “I shall drown, no one will save me!”)] little note, [nor -> Restrict to following “neither”, but do not use instead of “or” in negative expressions.] long remember what we say here, but it [can -> (do not confuse with “may”)] never forget what [they -> (do not use as substitute for “each, each one, everybody, every one, anybody, any one, somebody, some one”)] did here.

gettysburg.txt:5: It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work [which -> (use “that” if clause is restrictive)] [they -> (do not use as substitute for “each, each one, everybody, every one, anybody, any one, somebody, some one”)] who fought here have thus far [so -> (do not use as intensifier)] nobly advanced.

gettysburg.txt:5: It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for [which -> (use “that” if clause is restrictive)] [they -> (do not use as substitute for “each, each one, everybody, every one, anybody, any one, somebody, some one”)] gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead [shall -> (shall is sometimes used with first person pronouns and the future tense. It expresses something you believe will happen, not something that you are determined to do. A drowning man shouts: “I shall drown, no one will save me!”)] not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, [shall -> (shall is sometimes used with first person pronouns and the future tense. It expresses something you believe will happen, not something that you are determined to do. A drowning man shouts: “I shall drown, no one will save me!”)] have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the [people -> Do not use with numbers or as substitute for “public”.], by the [people -> Do not use with numbers or as substitute for “public”.], for the [people -> Do not use with numbers or as substitute for “public”.], [shall -> (shall is sometimes used with first person pronouns and the future tense. It expresses something you believe will happen, not something that you are determined to do. A drowning man shouts: “I shall drown, no one will save me!”)] not perish from the earth.

23 phrases in 10 sentences found.

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One Comment on “Enjoying the “Gettysburg Address””

  1. Kevin Says:

    Ten years after the Civil War and 12 years after the Battle of Gettysburg Edward Plank was born. He became a Hall of Fame pitcher who played most of his career with the Philadelphia Athletics. He is 3rd out of left handed pitchers and 11th among all pitchers in wins with 326. Gettysburg is mainly known for the Battle during the Civil War and also Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address which is recognized as one of the most famous speeches in history. Eddie Plank also known as “Gettysburg Eddie” also brought some recognition to the small town in PA. Although the Civil War far surpasses Eddie Plank’s fame I feel he should still be recognized as a Gettysburg story.


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