Home > English Language and Literature > Google Books NGRAM Viewer

Google Books NGRAM Viewer

Google Books NGRAM viewer:    ngrams.googlelabs.com

This is a tool that allows the user to search by word through all of the books that have been scanned into Google Books.  You can track word frequency statistics and comparisons that span centuries, and it is fun trying to trace trends in the history of thought and language within Google’s Book database.   Since Google’s ever-growing Book database does not (yet?) encompass the whole range of human thought and language, I think that data gathered from Google Books is best used a starting point for further research and inquiry.  It is also just a lot of fun to browse about.  This is the kind of data that can be pulled up:

Here’s another…..poor Milton!


One possible activity is to have your students think of a word and a few of its synonyms.  Have them search for the word and its synonyms, and then use the data to determine their relative popularity throughout the years.


Have students search for vocabulary words and find the earliest use of the word in Google’s database.  Has the usage of the word changed since then?


NGRAMS will undoubtedly blossom into something much, much greater….it is worth keeping our eyes on it!

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