Wanna Google English modals?

Wanna find information on, say, the frequency of ‘wanna’ vs. ‘want to’ with Google? Check your results carefully, because Google now automatically assumes you mean ‘want to’ if you type in ‘wanna’ (caveat: at least a large percentage of the time. I tried multiple searches after figuring this out and all but one did it). I discovered this when looking up information on anthropologist Wanni Anderson* and kept getting pages where ‘wanna’ was nowhere to be found (and nothing like ‘wannabe’, either, that could’ve been a partial hit). Unless you put your search in quotes, ‘wanna’ brings up ‘want to’ as well as actual ‘wanna’ hits.

When did this happen? Since the folks over at Google don’t do the same with with ‘gonna’, ‘hafta’, ‘shoulda’, ‘oughta’, ‘musta’, etc., it’s a bit perplexing. Are they trying to increase hits or correct what they perceive as bad grammar? I suspect the first, yet I have to admit it bugs me a little that a search engine is programmed to assume I don’t mean what I type. And if it’s the second, they fell short of the mark by not including ‘gonna’ as well, which is right up there with ‘wanna’ as one of the most common English modals.

*Typos are my constant companions, and I typed Wanna Anderson accidentally at first. Hence finding “wanna” for the name Wanni.

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One thought on “Wanna Google English modals?

  1. Chris July 17, 2007 / 10:56 pm

    I will ask about this when I go visit Google. Maybe there is a way to switch this off…

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