Analyze Frequency Of Phrases In Google Books Using Google Ngram Viewer

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Google Ngram Viewer is an online tool from Google to analyze the frequency of phrases that occurred in Google Books from a time period of 1500-2008. You can search for a phrase or multiple phrases separated by commas, and it will return a graph with different color-coded lines. The color-coded lines represent the rise and fall in the frequency of a phrase usage during that time period. In general, the graph displays how a particular phrase is used in Google books within the selected time period.

You can dig deeper in analyzing phrase usages by using wildcards, parts of the speech tags, etc in your search query to get more complex results. For example, you can use it to see how a particular word like comb is used as a noun and verb differently by appending part of the speech tag in search keyword/phrases. I will tell you more about it in next section, so keep reading.

Google Ngram Viewer

How to use Google Ngram Viewer:

Step 1: Open Google Ngram Viewer homepage from here.

Step 2: Enter a phrase that you want to search in the first text box from the top. Searches in Google Ngram Viewer are case sensitive, that means that “Winston Churchill” and “winston churchill” will produce different results. If you just want to search a phrase and ignore its case then you can enable its case-insensitive option.

You can also perform advanced searching by using wildcards, part of the speech tags, etc. I will tell you more about it in the next section of this article.

Step 3: Specify the time period for which you want to know frequencies of a phrase. You can set it between 1500 to 2008.

Step 4: Select a corpus of books from which you want to see the frequency of searched phrase. You can choose from 22 different corpora like English, French, Spanish, American English, British English, and many more.

Step 5: Click on “Search lots of Books” button to search for a phrase and it will then display a graph with a line. To see a phrase frequency in a year, just hover your mouse on any point of the line. In case you searched for multiple variations of the phrase, then the graph will have multiple color-coded lines, each line representing one variation.

Step 6: You can also customize the smoothing level of a graph as per your convenience. If you apply a higher smoothing level, then the curves of the color-coded line will be smoother. You can set the smoothing level of the graph from 0 to 50.

Also see: Free  Bulk Google Books Downloader.

Advanced searching in Google Ngram Viewer:

As I already mentioned, you can use the advanced searching feature of Google Ngram Viewer to procure more complex results. It allows you to perform 3 advanced type of search: Inflection search, Wildcard search, and Part of speech text.To perform these searches, you need to follow a syntax, so let’s see each one of them and their syntaxes.

Inflection search: It will automatically return various modifications of a word, like, if you searched for cook then in results it will also display frequencies of cooks, cooking, cooked, etc. You can simply do inflection search by appending _INF at the end of a word like cook_INF in the previous example.


Wildcard search: To do a wildcard search, insert * anywhere in your searched phrase and Google Ngram will automatically replace it (*) with top 10 popular phrases as per your searched phrase. You can place * symbol anywhere in a phrase that you want to search like you can search * California.


Part of the speech search: I have already told you about it, you can use this search to see frequencies of a phrase as a particular part of the speech. To do this search, append _PartOfSpeech at the end of a phrase, like comb_verb and comb_noun. You can see its results in the screenshot included below.


For more help in advanced usage of Google Ngram Viewer, you can read here.


Google Ngram Viewer is a useful online tool to analyze frequencies of phrases that occurred in Google Books from a time period of 1500 to 2008. It is quite easy to use and can be used by anyone to research or get an idea on anything. You can dig deeper to search and analyze frequencies of phrases more coherently by using its advanced searching types like wildcard, Inflection, or part of the speech. So try Google Ngram from the link below and start analyzing.

Go to Google Ngram Viewer from here.

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