I'm looking for a way to search/count all the sentences in a bunch of text where there is a lack of personal pronouns. For example, "laundry gets folded", "laundry is folded" satisfy this condition while "I'm folding the laundry", "I folded some laundry" don't. Essentially, I'm looking for a computer program or website which searches for a specific sentence structure which I define instead of a set of words.
closed as off topic by tchrist, Andrew Leach, coleopterist, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Kristina Lopez Feb 27 at 18:21
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I don't know of an established program to do the search, sorry.
But I think that you could probably write a program yourself that does the necessary steps to search for you.
For example you could write a program in BASIC (a fairly easy language to learn). Or you could work through the steps in a spreadsheet program like Excel.
Either way you would start by copying your source text so you can paste it in (or have it as a file that can be OPEN'ed or IMPORT'ed by respectively BASIC or Excel).
Either way, have the input/import routine separate the data into chunks by searching for "delimiters" (sentence enders, in our case), such as period, question mark, or exclamation mark. Using Excel, each sentence would then be in a cell, probably in one row. You can COPY the row and click column B, and Paste Special, Transpose. Now the sentences should be legible as sentences, going down, all starting in column B but in different rows.
At this point you may want to scroll down, looking for aberrations caused by sentences like this one: "Dr. Jeckyl was Mr. Hyde." The extra periods would make the sentences appear to be "Dr" "Jeckyl was Mr" "Hyde". You could manually repair this yourself by editing it. (If your data is "correct enough", you could search for double spaces instead of punctuation, and separate the sentences that way, instead. But any single-spaced sentence separators would be ignored by the import parsing, and it would be harder to find these.)
Then in column A row 1 you could set up a search, something with the meaning of "if the data in cell B1 contains any of "I ", "My ", " my ", "His ", " his ", ...etc., then make cell A1 = 1, else, make cell A1 = 0. (Note the spaces before and after the uncapitalized pronouns, to avoid false finds in words such as "this" or "history".)
Thinking ahead, you would probably want to adjust all of the sentences by putting a space at the end, so that pronouns at the end of the sentence would be counted.
It would take some playing around to search correctly for any possible use of pronouns. Once everything is done, then you can count how many 0's or 1's are in column A for the sentences-without-pronouns or sentences-with-pronouns count.