Know. Here. More. The top 100 words used in 2015 commencement speeches are oddly inspiring, even out of context

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Is there a formula for inspiration? If so it involves these words: know, here, more, life. They top the list of the 100 most common words used in commencement speeches this year:


We analyzed the transcripts of 30 high-profile commencement addresses delivered this spring. In alphabetical order:

The combined length of these remarks was nearly 80,000 words. In case you were wondering, "congratulations" was said only 35 times (narrowly cracking the top 200 words) and "congrats" just twice.

Commencement speakers talk more about the students they're addressing than themselves, but only barely. We found that the second-person pronouns "you," "your," and "yours" were used just 4.7% more than the first-person pronouns "I," "me," "my," and "mine."


These addresses aren't always as squeaky clean as the university administrations might like. In our sample, "hell" was said 14 times, although mostly in direct quotations from the likes of Churchill, Twain, and Shakespeare. "Damn" was heard three times. "Shit" made four appearances and "bullshit" once — all, wonderfully, in Matthew McConaughey's speech at UH.

Here are the top 100 words in order, ranked by the number of times they were used across all 30 speeches. Prepare your graduation ceremony bingo cards accordingly:


Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion's Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.