Sentiment Analysis using Python Vader

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Analysing the emotions of the customers will help product and service companies to improve their quality. Sentiment Analysis helps in identifying these emotions computationally without any manual intervention. In this article we are not discussing the underlying process of identifying the sentiment, but we use a pre-built engine to process our text.

VADER is a rule-based sentiment analysis tool written in Python to analyse a given text. VADER not only tells about the positivity and negativity score but also tells us about how positive or negative it is. VADER sentimental analysis relies on a dictionary that maps lexical features to emotion intensities known as sentiment scores. The sentiment score of a text can be obtained by summing up the intensity of each word in the text.

For example, words like, ‘happy’, ‘awesome’, ‘good’ all convey positive emotion. VADER is intelligent enough to understand the context of these words. For example, “Food is not good” is considered negative. If also understands the emphasis of capitalisation and punctuation. For example, “AWESOME” (capital letters) will represent the high intensity of positivity.

Installing VADER Sentiment Analysis Tool

VADER is available as part of NLTK Python package. I use pip3 to install Python packages. Below command will install nltk.

$ pip3 install nltk

Once nltk is installed, we need to download the vader lexicon.

$ python3
Python 3.8.5 (default, Sep  5 2020, 10:50:12) 
[GCC 10.2.0] on linux
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import nltk
[nltk_data] Downloading package vader_lexicon to
[nltk_data]     /home/saisyam/nltk_data...

This will install required data for using VADER sentiment analysis.

Performing Sentiment Analysis

We have everything installed to perform the sentiment analysis. Let’s use VADER to find the sentiment of the following review:

“Pretty pricey but the lamb burger ($25) is beyond amazing. Definitely worth it. So, so good.”

The following code will perform the sentiment analysis.

from nltk.sentiment.vader import SentimentIntensityAnalyzer
sia = SentimentIntensityAnalyzer()

text = "Pretty pricey but the lamb burger ($25) is beyond amazing. Definitely worth it. So, so good."

When we run the above code we get the following output:

>>> {'neg': 0.0, 'neu': 0.369, 'pos': 0.631, 'compound': 0.963}

VADER’s SentimentIntensityAnalyzer() takes in a string and returns a dictionary of scores in each of four categories:

  • negative
  • neutral
  • positive
  • compound (computed by normalizing the scores above)

The above result says that the emotion in the given review is positive. Let’s look at the other review: “The food is so good. The service is so bad.” When we run the above code for the given text, the output is:

>>> {'neg': 0.277, 'neu': 0.493, 'pos': 0.23, 'compound': -0.1901}

The review has two polarities. The customer is appreciating the food but not satisfied with the service. To judge whether the review is positive or negative we use the below logic.

if compound >= 0.05:
elif compound <= -0.05:

Which says the above review is negative.

What is missing with VADER Sentiment Analysis?

VADER only tries to get the emotion (postivie/negative/neutral) out of text. It won’t care about the aspect. For example, the review, “The food is so good. The service is so bad.” is negative from the service aspect but postive from the food aspect. If we identify sentiment based on aspects then it will be much more helpful. This is called Aspect based Sentiment Analysis.


In this post we have learnt how to find whether the text is positive, negative or neutral using Python based VADER Sentiment Analysis. We also discussed the next level of sentiment analysis based on aspects. In the next article we will see how we can identify aspects for a given industry or domain and implement the sentiment analysis based on aspects.

Thanks for reading.

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