Writing Tools: Google’s Ngram Viewer

The Ngram Viewer is a most useful tool for writers who need to know the popularity of certain phrases used in published books. Here are two ways that I’ve used it.

I was doing a beta-read for a writer whose story took place in the 1940s. In the novel he had one of his characters say, “Far Out!” I thought that term wasn’t used at that time so I checked in on the NGram Viewer. I was right. The term didn’t achieve popularity in print until the 1960s. The writer was thankful for the feedback.

I was writing the first draft of book five of my series, Chrysalis Chronology. I wanted a character to refer to a baby’s father as the woman’s ‘Sugar Daddy.’ But I wasn’t sure if that term was in use in 1938, the time of my story. So I checked it out on the Ngram viewer.

I discovered that the term was in use at the time of my story, so I felt comfortable using it. This is the Ngram Viewer graph from Google:

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