Data Science
Shaistha Fatima
May 13, 2024
min read

Explore NGram Analysis to Understand Language Patterns

Shaistha Fatima
May 13, 2024

N-gram in Natural Language Processing is a sequence of N words or characters that appear together in a text. NGram Analysis is an important technique in language processing as it helps understand language structure and predict what comes next in a sentence. 

Analyzing N-grams is helpful in complex tasks like text generation, spelling correction, and sentiment analysis. NLP models can better understand language patterns and make accurate predictions by studying which words often appear together. This will help enhance various NLP applications like machine translation, chatbots, and search engines.

Exploring N-gram Models

The Ngram model is important in sentiment analysis as it captures patterns of words that express positive or negative sentiments. For example, in the phrase ‘very good movie’ the 2 grams are ‘very good’ and ‘good movie’ which indicates positive sentiment.

Exploring N-gram Models

Sentiment analysis algorithms can identify common combinations related to different sentiments by analyzing these N-grams in large text datasets. Moreover, in feature extraction, N-grams help identify important words or phrases that convey meaning in a text.

To understand this, let's consider an example: In product reviews, two-grams like ‘great product’ or ‘poor quality’ can serve as features to classify the sentiment of the review accurately—whether positive or negative.

Understanding N-Gram Language Models

N-gram language models enable improving speech-to-text models and predicting word probabilities in the sentence. These models work by analyzing the sequences of N words or characters to understand language patterns better.

Understanding N-Gram Language Models

N-gram language models enable improving speech-to-text models and predicting word probabilities in the sentence. These models work by analyzing the sequences of N words or characters to understand language patterns better. 

The most common types of Ngram models are unigrams, bigrams, and trigrams. Each captures different levels of context. 

1. Unigrams

Unigrams are single words in a text. They provide basic information about individual words without focusing on their context. For example, in the sentence ‘The cat is sleeping,’, the unigrams are ‘The,’ ‘cat,’ ‘is,’ and ‘sleeping.’

2. Bigrams

In any given sentence, the bigrams consist of two adjacent words. They offer insight into word relationships within a limited context. For example, in ‘Red Car,’ the bigram highlights the color of the car, while ‘Happy Birthday’ displays a celebratory occasion. These pairs help in understanding language structure and meaning. 

3. Trigrams

The sequences of three consecutive words in a text are called Trigrams. Compared to bigrams, trigrams provide a deeper understanding of language context. For example, in ‘Green Apple Tree,’ the trigram reveals both the fruit's color and its relation to a tree. Trigrams are valuable for analyzing language patterns and meaning.

In speech-to-text models, N-grams help predict the next word based on the preceding words. For example, if the model hears ‘I love,’ it might predict ‘you’ or ‘pizza’ based on the context it learned from analyzing N-grams in training data.

Moreover, this N-gram example also helps calculate the probability of a word appearing after a given sequence of words. Understanding the probability is crucial for various tasks in natural language processing. 

For instance, in the phrase ‘open,’ the probability of the word ‘door’ might be higher than that of ‘window’ based on the analysis of N-grams in a large text corpus. Overall, N-gram language models play a vital role in understanding and processing language efficiently.

Applications of NGram Analysis

Let's explore how NGram analysis is applied in various domains to enhance language understanding and user experience.

Applications of NGram Analysis

1. Sentiment Analysis and Text Classification

Ngram analyzer is used extensively in sentiment analysis and text classification, where it identifies patterns in text to determine emotions or topics.

For instance, in the sentence ‘I loved the movie,’ the bigram ‘loved the’ indicates positive sentiment. This helps classify reviews or social media posts accurately.

2. Speech Recognition and Speech-to-Text Applications

In speech recognition and speech-to-text applications, the Ngram analysis helps predict the next word based on context.

For example, when someone says, ‘Please book a’, the model might predict ‘flight’ or ‘table’ based on common word sequences. This enhances the accuracy of transcribed speech.

3. Predictive Text and autocomplete Features

Predictive text and auto-complete features rely on NGram analysis to suggest words or phrases as users type.

For example, when typing ‘I'm going to the,’ the system might suggest ‘store’ or ‘park’ based on frequently occurring trigrams. This speeds up typing and reduces errors.

N-Gram Language Modeling with NLTK

Implementing N-Gram Language Modeling with NLTK is straightforward. First, the user needs to tokenize the text into words or characters. Then, NLTK must be used to generate N-grams of desired lengths. 

For example, with NLTK, you can create bigrams from a sentence like ‘I love natural language processing’ to get pairs like (‘I,’ ‘love’) and (‘love,’ ‘natural’). These N grams NLP models serve as the foundation for various tasks like text generation and prediction.

N-Gram Analysis for SEO

N-gram analysis in SEO involves examining sequences of words (N-grams) to understand keyword usage on web pages. For instance, if analyzing a webpage about healthy recipes, common bigrams might include ‘healthy eating’ or ‘recipe ideas.’

By studying these patterns and frequencies, SEO experts can optimize content using relevant keywords. Furthermore, analyzing co-occurrences, like ‘healthy recipes’ and ‘meal planning’, helps in understanding related terms. 

This N-gram search insight helps in crafting content that aligns with user search intent while improving the visibility and ranking of the webpage on search engine results pages (SERP). This ultimately drives more organic traffic to the site.

Challenges and Limitations

Similar to any other language model, NGram also has a few challenges and limitations, as mentioned below: 

1. Handling Large Datasets and Computational Complexity

N-gram analysis faces challenges with large datasets due to the need for significant memory and processing power. Analyzing vast amounts of text can strain computing resources, slowing down analysis or causing system crashes. 

This complexity arises because N-gram models must consider every possible sequence of N words, which becomes increasingly demanding as the dataset size grows. Efficient algorithms and hardware are essential for managing these computational demands effectively.

2. Addressing Data Sparsity and Overfitting Issues

NGram analysis encounters challenges with data sparsity and overfitting. Data sparsity arises when rare word combinations occur infrequently in the dataset, leading to inaccurate predictions. 

Overfitting happens when the model memorizes the training data too well, performing poorly on new, unseen data. Balancing between capturing useful patterns and avoiding memorization is crucial. Techniques like smoothing and regularization help address these issues by adjusting the model's behavior.

NGram Analysis Best Practices 

Now that we have explored the fundamentals of NGram analysis, let's learn about some best practices to optimize its effectiveness in various applications.

1. Data Preprocessing Techniques for NGram Analysis

Data preprocessing is important for NGram analysis and can be done in different ways, as discussed below:

  • Tokenization: Split text into individual words or characters.
  • Lowercasing: Convert all text to lowercase to treat words consistently.
  • Removing Stopwords: Exclude common words like "the" or "and" that don't carry significant meaning.
  • Handling Punctuation: Decide whether to keep or remove punctuation marks.

2. Optimizing NGram Models for Specific Tasks

To optimize the model, it is important to understand and implement various tasks properly. These tasks include:

  • Task Alignment: Tailor the N-gram model parameters, such as N value, to match the requirements of the specific task.
  • Feature Selection: Choose relevant N-grams that contribute most to the task's objectives, discarding less informative ones.
  • Algorithm Selection: Pick appropriate algorithms or techniques for N-gram analysis based on the task's characteristics and goals.
  • Evaluation Metrics: Define clear evaluation metrics to assess the model's performance in achieving the task objectives accurately.


As the N-gram language model continues to evolve, emerging trends suggest a focus on more sophisticated models capable of handling complex language structures. Future advancements may involve integrating NGram analysis with deep learning techniques for enhanced accuracy and efficiency. 

Research directions could explore incorporating contextual information beyond fixed-size N-grams, enabling a more dynamic understanding of language patterns. Embracing these innovations promises to unlock new possibilities in natural language processing, driving advancements across various domains. 

In this context, Markov aims to revolutionize NGram modeling by leveraging machine learning algorithms for improved predictions and insights. Join the journey with MarkovML for cutting-edge NGram analysis!

Shaistha Fatima

Technical Content Writer MarkovML

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