How to figure out
free modifier to main clause ratios


  1. Go through your sample looking for main clauses. When you find one, mark MC above the main verb of it.
  2. Go through the sample looking for free modifiers--such as subordinate clauses, verb clusters, noun clusters, adjective clusters, relative clauses, and absolutes--and when you find one, mark FM above the first word of it.
  3. When you have marked the whole sample, count the number of free modifiers and main clauses, and put them in the following ratio-- fm:mc.
  4. Divide the number of free modifiers by the number of main clauses. If there are eight main clauses and thirty-two free modifiers, the ratio is 32:8, and the final number is 4.

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