Phrase Me This! – Google nGgram Viewr

If you are a subscriber to this blog you know I don’t always write about marketing, but often venture into side topics and this is one of them. I am sure you will find this useful some day.

I was curious about the origin of the phrase “once in a blue moon” the other day and started searching for information about how long this term had been in existence. (see graph below)

I stumbled across the Google nGgram Viewr. When you enter a phrase into the Google Books Ngram Viewer, it displays a graph showing how those phrases have occurred in a corpus of books (e.g., “British English”, “English Fiction”, “French”) over the time period you have selected.

This is the graph that shows the incidence of the term “once in a blue moon” in books from 1900 through 2008. At the bottom of the graph you can click on date ranges and actually see the books that use this term.

Searching for a word like “internet” does not create much history, but it is a useful tool for market research.

Here is the graph for the use of the term “Penny for your Thoughts” from 1800 to 2008.

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