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The Spoonbill Generator presents

The N+7 Machine

The N+7 procedure, invented in 1961 by Jean Lescure of Oulipo, involves replacing each noun in a text with the seventh one following it in a dictionary. (In French, it is referred to as the 'S+7' procedure.)

On this page you can enter an English text and 15 alternative texts will be generated, from N+1, which replaces each noun with the next one in the dictionary, to N+15, which takes the 15th noun following. The sample page of proverbs will quickly give you an idea of the effect.

You can type in your own text or copy and paste from another source. (Project Gutenberg is a good source of well-known texts). Or you can look at some of the examples below.

There's probably a limit to how large a text you can paste in, but in any case a few paragraphs will probably provide sufficient entertainment.

Enter a text

You can type in a text, or paste from another source

Small (c. 3,000 nouns)
Large (c. 11,700 nouns)


With thanks to Roland Clare and David Briggs.


  1. The N+7 Machine is not very clever — although it has some basic rules about plurals, there are quite a few plurals it cannot identify. It works by basic word substitution — it has no syntactical or other grammatical knowledge.
  2. The large dictionary used for this procedure still needs tidying up, as it contains a few words that are not nouns and seems to have a few quite common nouns missing. Also it includes many nouns that are more common as verbs (e.g. rise, abandon, and present participles such as swimming), so some verbs will be replaced as well, and the resulting texts may be less syntactically correct than if the small dictionary is used. You can prevent a word being treated as a noun by prefixing it with =.
  3. The small dictionary, obviously, will overlook quite a few nouns in a text, particularly if they are relatively uncommon. But this dictionary will less often make substitutions for other parts of speech than the large dictionary. This dictionary will probably give better results for texts with more limited vocabulary. Also, it will more often substitute words that are semantically remote from the nouns in the original, as it contains many fewer compounds for core vocabulary like eye and sun.
  4. At present, neither dictionary is circular. In principle, with enough iterations, all nouns would be replaced with zone (small dictionary) or zoom (large dictionary).
  5. The dictionaries use British English spelling, so US forms like "color" and "favor" will not be recognized as nouns. It may be possible to fix this in due course.
  6. The site doesn't keep any record of the submitted or generated texts. If you find a text that gives particularly good results, please feel free to mail me at spoonmaster@spoonbill.org.
  7. More on the N+7 procedure will be found in the Oulipo Compendium, and the other items listed below.

About the N+7 / S+7 Method

This page was last revised May 04 2023.