Statistical Studies of Natural Syntactic Development:
An On-going KISS Project

Dr. Ed Vavra, the Developer of KISS Grammar

      Influenced by the statistical studies of Kellogg Hunt, Roy O'Donnell, and Walter Loban, in 1986 I began some detailed statistical studies of the writing of students in different grade levels. Because Hunt suggested that advanced syntactic development probably occurs within clauses, in several ways I went beyond their studies to explore how that internal develop may happen. Over the years, I did more studies, but for the first time I have put them all together in this section of the KISS site.

      They are primarily intended as background reference material for articles and, ideally, a book that I would like to write, but you are welcome to use them. They include the writing of students from third grade to college Freshmen, samples (from plays) of oral language, and the writing of about three dozen professionals. Included are the original texts, the coded statistical analysis of each text, and statistical results from each sample.

      All of the documents in this section are in MS Word .doc format. You can get the Introduction here, and from it you should be able to link to the various other documents. All of these documents are in the same folder, so if you download them and put them in the same folder, the links from one document to another should work for you. If you do not have MS Word (or a program that can open these documents), go to the Microsoft site where you can get a free reader that will let you open and print these books.

     If you have problems getting these documents, please e-mail me at

Click here to go to the KISS homepage.