The most frequently used words in this year’s commencement addresses

The New York Times graphs the terms that speakers at 40 colleges used—and finds some conclusions about the times we are in.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Repetition is one of a speaker’s most powerful tools—so much so that it merits 70 pages in “Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric,” complete with subcategories like epistrophe and symploce.

But how many of us have the time to count up the repeated words in a graduation speech—let alone 40 such speeches?

Luckily, The New York Times has done it for us. The paper has graphed word usage in 40 speeches to this year’s graduates at places ranging from Babson College (which heard from Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter) to Yale (where actor Tom Hanks spoke).

A graphic lays it out, representing the most-mentioned words with bubbles. As a bonus, it links to some of the speeches. The Times explains in a brief story that accompanies the graphic:

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.