5
$\begingroup$

When you enter a search into google ngrams, the graph shows the words/strings down the right hand side. What if you could pick search terms such that reading the right hand side of the graph, from top to bottom, makes an actual sentence...

Challenge

What is the longest sentence you can create in google ngrams by reading the search terms down the right hand side of the graph?

Example

A nice simple one to start you off. I give you, for a score of 4:

This sentence scores poorly.

Graph for "This sentence scores poorly."

Rules

  1. Each word must be its own ngrams search term (no strings as search terms)
  2. The sentence must be in English. You must use the corpus "English".
  3. The sentence must make grammatical sense. To achieve this, you are allowed to insert punctuation in your sentence which is not present in your ngrams search.
  4. You are not allowed to tick "case insensitive". (Because it spoils the look by adding (All) to the end of each word). Capitals are allowed where they make grammatical sense (beginning of sentence, proper nouns) but are not required.
  5. You may not string endless adjectives or adverbs together; only one adjective to describe each object and one adverb to describe each verb, unless you can put a joining word in between. i.e. "The big red awesome car" would not be acceptable, but "the awesome car which was big and red" would be... although clearly that example isn't going to appear in order! Note that possessive nouns (e.g. "my sister's car") are adjectives and hence fall under this rule.
  6. You are allowed to change the end year of your search from the default.
  7. The maximum score possible is 12, because google ngrams only allows 12 search terms.
$\endgroup$
13
  • $\begingroup$ If anyone could tell me the steps to embed a screengrab of my example graph as a picture, I'd be very grateful. Presumably I need to take a screengrab, save it to my PC, then upload it to somewhere? $\endgroup$
    – AndyT
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ I cannot understand your question. What do you mean by the longest sentence possible? I could enter any sentence that I choose.. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 15:16
  • $\begingroup$ @ghosts_in_the_code - no, try "this is a really long sentence that does not work" I get, from top to bottom down the right, "a is that not this work does long really sentence" $\endgroup$
    – AndyT
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ @AndyT. To embed an image, save a screengrab to your PC, then edit your question and click on the icon with a mountain on it to insert an image. $\endgroup$
    – Fillet
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 15:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AndyT I didn't like how big the graph was so I used the link to embed it elsewhere, changed the size there, took a screenshot saved as PNG, and then inserted it here. StackExchange sites let you upload images directly in the editor and it stores them on Imgur and links to them for you. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 19:05

7 Answers 7

3
$\begingroup$

13: Just modifying a previous answer yields higher results: A,new,man,through,life,without,true,love,today,normally,allows,medicinal,marijuana (Though I will point out that google stops showing them after 12. So the answer may just be 12.

$\endgroup$
2
  • $\begingroup$ Yep, maximum is 12. I've now added this as rule no7 (although it's more of a clarification of google ngrams limitations than a rule I'm "imposing"). $\endgroup$
    – AndyT
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 9:59
  • $\begingroup$ As the first answer to reach 12, that I judge to have met the rules, I have accepted this answer. Well done geniusadam! $\endgroup$
    – AndyT
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 9:02
4
$\begingroup$

Here's a particularly dark 12-pointer:

The very good man—though usually kind—considered killing babies marginally unconscionable.

Here's a screenshot of the hover window for the year 2000:

enter image description here

$\endgroup$
2
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ +1. Though it turns out the word order on the hover window... is actually just the search order. Gah. Looks like I have to manually check the correct order for entries. $\endgroup$
    – AndyT
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ Oh wow, haha, I never noticed that. I updated my answer to have them in the correct order. $\endgroup$
    – dpwilson
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 14:27
3
$\begingroup$

10 points

A somewhat morbid sentence, perhaps from a proponent of eugenics:

A new man without true love requires severe anesthesia perfunctorily

(Note that this uses an end year of 1975. After that point, love overtakes true.)

$\endgroup$
3
  • $\begingroup$ I'm getting "perfunctorily anesthesia" rather than "anesthesia perfunctorily"... Perhaps spelling anaesthesia correctly might help? $\endgroup$
    – AndyT
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 17:05
  • $\begingroup$ @AndyT I think all of anesthesia (American spelling), anaesthesia (British spelling), and perfunctorily have 0 results (or close enough that it gets rounded to 0. It appears that ngrams orders results with the same value randomly. When I spelled it with the extra a, it appeared in the wrong order for me, which is why I chose the American spelling. It appears it isn't consistent for everyone, though. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ And today when I click on your same, unedited, link, it puts them in the right order! Google ngrams seems determined to destroy my challenge! $\endgroup$
    – AndyT
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 9:56
3
$\begingroup$

12 points

"This could very much run counter vs. prevailing ideologies," quoth Slavoj Zizek.

enter image description here

$\endgroup$
6
  • $\begingroup$ Good effort. But "run counter vs" falls foul of rule no 3 - in my view it is not grammatical. $\endgroup$
    – AndyT
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 9:54
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed. 'run counter to' would work but not 'vs'. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 11:42
  • $\begingroup$ It does have some results in Google Books, but I agree it's at least bad writing. I'd argue it's still grammatical, just redundant (versus and to are the same part of speech, so they should be interchangeable syntactically). $\endgroup$
    – histocrat
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 12:21
  • $\begingroup$ @histocrat - I haven't found any results in google books for run counter vs $\endgroup$
    – AndyT
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ books.google.co.uk/…" $\endgroup$
    – histocrat
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 17:04
2
$\begingroup$

Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo trivially scores 8.

Explanation

$\endgroup$
3
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Actually, this does not work. If you properly capitalize it (three of those buffalos are the name of a city), it shows the capital Buffalos first in the right-hand list. books.google.com/ngrams/… $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 15:44
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @IanMacDonald I was relying on my reading of rule 4 saying that capitals were not required $\endgroup$
    – Miff
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ Add the words "some, poor" for a score of 10: some poor Buffalo .... $\endgroup$
    – Lawrence
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 11:25
2
$\begingroup$

Here's another 12-pointer that I believe satisfies all the rules. Unfortunately, for some reason Google does not place the words in the correct order on the right-hand side, but at all points within the selected date range the order of the word frequency (when you hover over the graph) is in the correct sentence order.

I just love quickly finding perfect answers (comments aside) - resolving puzzles cleverly.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

Here's one for 12 points:

I would very much want dead horse ears atop James's chariot archer

$\endgroup$
6
  • $\begingroup$ I'm afraid that gives an order of: I would very much want dead horse atop chariot hooves archer alexander 's, based on your link. $\endgroup$
    – AndyT
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ Also, it turns out a possessive noun is an adjective. Therefore "alexander's chariot archer" would not be allowed as both "alexander's" and "chariot" are adjectives of archer. $\endgroup$
    – AndyT
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ @AndyT I understand your first comment, but to the second one, I'm not sure you can consider "chariot" an adjective. It's not as if you could say "that archer is chariot". $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ Also, changed it to fix the ordering of the last words $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ Then, out of interest, what do you think "James's chariot archer" means? I believe it means an archer, who is riding a chariot, who belongs to James. If so, "chariot" is an adjective. $\endgroup$
    – AndyT
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 9:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.