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So I’ve been thinking about Google’s Ngram Viewer and how it applies as a teaching tool. Although it doesn’t directly translate, Ngram reminded me of a really handy tool that we use regularly at the Writing Centre. I’ve also realized that many people may not have encountered it before. So, I present to you: the Now Corpus.

In my last post, I discussed how adopting a reading habit can help you strengthen your academic skills and become a better student in any discipline. However, making a commitment to recreational reading is often a challenging task. A common misconception seems to be that not reading regularly is a personal failing, as expressed in this simply-worded Tumblr post which resonated with hundreds of thousands of people:

At the Writing Centre, we’re always looking out for new teaching strategies and tools. So when one of my colleagues mentioned Google Ngram Viewer (I was shamelessly trolling for blog posts ideas, to be honest), I was intrigued. What is it? What does it do? And more importantly, how does Google keep creating these things?

(Unless it's our Instagram you're looking at!)

When you look at someone else’s Instagram account you see the great vacation, the beautiful hair, the new girlfriend, and the winning game. You don’t see the peeling sunburn, all the days she hid under a hat, the heartbreak it took him eight months to get over, or the years and years of practice that led to a single successful game.