About and User Guide

About is a tool for creative writers, translators and language learners for writers (English language)

(In the app, SCROLL through language menu to see other available languages) is a writing tool that enables exploration of ideas and word usage in real time as you write. takes you beyond grammar. Through direct interaction with different styles of thought and expression, helps you sharpen your capacity for thought and crystallise your personal (unique) writing style. Quotations may help you with the writing block. Write, re-write, get inspired, explore ideas.

Quotations is immediate and interactive. As soon as you select texts from our comprehensive library (or upload your literature), further steps are near-instantaneous, allowing you to immerse yourself in your favourite literature and engage with your favourite writers, philosophers and scholars on a deeper level. Alternatively, in the words of George Orwell, simply experience the “the joy of mere words, i.e. the sounds and associations of words.”


  1. A comprehensive (and expanding) literary/other texts database
  2. Create your private library – upload your texts
  3. In real time, as you write, explore how writers in our library (or your uploaded library) used your words, find inspiration and come up with ideas
  4. Double-click on any word in your writing to examine the complete concordance for that word in the context of the full source text for any text in our library/your uploaded library
  5. Explore and compare the function word spectra and the content word vectors for any text or a group of texts for Language learners (ELL and other languages) and translators

Build a comprehensive and nuanced vocabulary; explore word meaning and word usage in the context of the full source text, across literary styles and historical periods; study language and word meaning and usage at an advanced level, as used by native speakers. will not only help you prepare for an exam (A1 to C2 levels), improve your reading, writing and general language skills, but also give you the confidence to communicate with eloquence and precision. You will develop the knowledge of words and idiomatic expressions through comprehensive sets of contextualised examples of word usage by talented writers and scholars.


  1. Look up word definitions and study word meaning and usage
  2. Explore how any writer used a specific word in any of his texts or a selection of texts, in the context of the full source text
  3. See all instances of usage of a word through complete concordances in the context of the full source text
  4. Study all the words used by a writer/writers in a text/group of texts either in the alphabetical order or by frequency of occurrence, in the context of the full source text
  5. Explore most frequently used words by any writer in the context of the full source text
  6. Examine function word spectra and content word vectors for any text or a group of texts
  7. Enjoy our extensive and growing library; create your own library, and use our features with your texts

Access the full functionality through this link to our Librarian or go to the Librarian link in the main navigation menu in the upper right-hand corner. Library and Related Resources

We have attempted to make our library as comprehensive as possible (and we are continuing to expand it – see the Books Tab). As discussed above, if the writers you love are not (yet) included in our library, you are welcome to add their texts to Quotations, for your personal use (use Add Text in the Books Tab; note our advice on this matter).

All the words in our library – all the words used by our authors – are linked to a “Wiktionary” entry (see the Words tab), which will allow you to look up the definition and meaning of any unfamiliar word.

It is wise to use multiple dictionaries. Try the OED, the Oxford English Dictionary. It is the most comprehensive and detailed dictionary you can find. Explore Merriam and Webster or the Free Dictionary, for a concise overview of the full range of meanings of a word. Use the historical thesaurus of the University of Glasgow to study the development of meaning over time. The Emily Dickinson Lexicon will introduce you to 19th century American English. If you are an ELL-beginner, try the BBC Learning English service or Cambridge English. Try Grammarly, an excellent tool for basic grammar training.


Our main user interface has three tabs: Books Tab, Words Tab, Writing Aid Tab.

The Books Tab

Select the writers that are of interest to you in the ‘Books’ tab. Tick the box next to the writer to select all of his or her works included in; if you wish to select only certain works, click on the writer’s name to open the list of the works included; clicking on the title of the work will allow you to access its full text in the lower part of the screen on the right, in the Source Text Area.  

Note: if you are selecting an author with a large number of works, may take a few seconds to load.

Your Literature Additions

If the writer that you are looking for is not yet included in, use ‘Your Literature Additions’ to upload texts (Folder ‘Your Literature Additions’ in the Books Tab). 

‘Your Literature Additions’ menu will direct you to our browser data management advice page. Please make sure to read the page carefully to avoid data loss. You can also find the advice page via this link. Alternatively, contact us for help or advice via a direct message on twitter (@QuotationsC) / Twitter.

‘Years’, ‘Category’, ‘Language’, ‘Source Language’

Use these drop-down menus to select literature of a specific period, of a particular subject group; choose language or source language.

The Library

We are continuing to make additions to our library. If you would like us to include a book or an author, please get in touch with us with the details of the literary work via a direct message on (@QuotationsC) / Twitter.

Our current library catalog can be viewed here.

The Quality of the Texts

The literary works in our library come from several international projects which compile and maintain electronic depositories of books. Some of our texts contain errors resulting from the process of digitisation. 

The Time of Composition and the Time of the Author’s life

The dates next to the author’s name indicate the years of birth and death when they are known. The dates next to the literary works may indicate either the time of publication or the time of writing. (As the scholarship in this area continues to evolve, you are welcome to advise us of any updating required via a direct message on (@QuotationsC) / Twitter)

The Words Tab

The ‘Words’ tab orders all the words in the selected literary work/s alphabetically or by frequency of occurrence. Note: Only the content words are shown for the English Language. Additionally, in plays or longer literary works, character names, stage directions – enter, exit – or words like ‘Chapter’ may appear with considerable frequency and will be shown close to the top of the word list, if it is ordered by frequency.

If you wish to find a particular word in the ‘Words’ list, type the word into the input bar at the top. The word list will shift to the location of that word or the nearest word in the word list. Use the scroll bar, next to the word list on the right, to scroll through the word list.

After you have typed a word in the input bar press ‘enter’ or click on the word in the word list, to select it.

Quotations for each selected word – a complete concordance for that word – will appear in the Quotations area on the right. Click on any quotation to access the original text in the Source Text area below.

The words for which quotations are shown appear next to the main word list. To de-select any of the selected words, click on the small cross next to the word to be de-selected or click on ‘clear’ to clear all selected words. Quotations for that (those) word(s) will be removed.

When examining word usage, explore different word forms and word spellings. Sometimes, the literary work contains a plural form of a noun but not a singular form or only one of all the possible verb forms (an infinitive, a gerund (-ing), a past participle (-ed) or a third person form). Keep in mind that, in older works, some words would have been spelt differently, or a different kind of typography would have been used, and, throughout times, authors have experimented with spelling and abbreviations.

For example, note some of the differences between the 1903 and the 1596 edition of the Fairie Queene. The editors of 1903 modernised some words but not others.

An Excerpt, 1596

LOI the man, whose Muse whilome did maske,   
As time her taught in lowly Shepheards weeds, 
Am now enforst a far vnfitter taske, 
For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine Oaten reeds,
And sing of Knights and Ladies gentle deeds;
Whose prayses hauing slept in silence long,
Me, all too meane, the sacred Muse areeds 
To blazon broad emongst her learned throng:   
Fierce warres and faithfull loues shall moralize my song.

An Excerpt, 1903

Lo I the man,° whose Muse whilome did maske,
As time her taught, in lowly Shepheards weeds,
Am now enforst a far unfitter taske,
For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine Oaten reeds,
And sing of Knights and Ladies° gentle deeds;                      
Whose prayses having slept in silence long,
Me, all too meane, the sacred Muse areeds
To blazon broade emongst her learned throng:
Fierce warres and faithfull loves shall moralize my song.

Writers sometimes shorten words. Shakespeare used ‘ravished’ on 6 occasions, but ‘ravish’d’ – on 9. An early 17th-century poem from the Third and Fourth Book of Airs by Thomas Campion starts “OFt haue I sigh’d, oft haue I sigh’d” ( “Often have I sighed, often have I sighed”).

The Writing Tab

Use the Writing tab to receive impromptu suggestions, based on your writing, from the authors you love, in real-time, as you write.

Select the writers that are of interest to you in the Books tab, and start writing in the Writing Area. The writing area contains a brief version of these instructions; it will be replaced by [type here], if you clear any text in the writing field by pressing ‘Clear text’.

Each word in your writing that can be found in the same form in the literature that you have selected will appear in a darker colour. A quotation for each of those words will appear on the right, in the Quotations Area. 

Double-click on any word in your writing that you wish to examine more closely. If the word is found in the selected literature, all the instances of usage for that word in your selected literature, a complete concordance, will appear on the right. Access the original text by clicking on any quotation. Double-click on the selected word again and you will return to the previous state.

If you double-click on any word in your writing that is shown in grey (‘grey’ means that this word is not found in the same form in the literature of your selection), you will be transferred to the ‘Words’ tab where you can check if the author of your selection spells that word differently or uses closely related words. (For details see Section The Words Tab.) If any of the close words in the word list are of interest to you, select them by clicking on them in the word list, and you will be shown quotations for them on the right. If you are unable to find suitable words in the word list, you can either change your literature selection in the Books tab or return to the Writing Aid tab, by clicking on either tab. 

The Quotations Area

Once you selected the words that are of interest to you in the Words tab or wrote a text in the Writing tab, quotations for each word in your writing or selection will appear on the right.

Use ‘Order’ to organise quotations in an order that is of interest to you. Note: when you arrange quotations in a new order, the previous order is retained if the new order makes no new distinction. 

In the Quotations area, scroll through the quotations or click on any quotation and you will be taken to the location of that quotation in the original text in the source text below. Scroll through the source text to examine any part of the original text.

The Source Text Area

Click on any book title in the Books tab or on any quotation in the Quotations area, and the full text will appear in the Source Text area. Scroll through the text to access any part of the literary work.

Examine word usage in a context that is broader than the single sentence ordinarily provided by a dictionary as you move freely around the original text.

The statistics at the top of the Source Text area include the total number of words in the literary work and, if you access the text by clicking on a quotation in the Quotations area, the total number of occurrences of all the words in your writing and/or of all the words selected by you, in that literary work.

Underneath the title of the literary work in the Source Text area, you will see either one or two rainbow-like lines. Read about about the Content Word vector and the Function Word Spectrum here.


As discussed in the section The Quality of the Texts above, our texts are sourced from several international projects, which scan the original editions and create depositories of electronic copies of literary works. The depositories often place the scanned works into the public domain and the license terms imposed by the depository can be accessed either at the top, or the end, of the selected text, in the Source Text area, or through the link to the source depository.

However, copyright laws are country-specific. We would like to remind you that it is your responsibility to abide by the copyright laws of the country of your location when using any of the works available here. 

The copyright for any material available through outside the texts of the literary works, sourced from the depositories or added to by you, is reserved to


For any questions, contact us at or via a direct message on Twitter.