Techniques are disclosed to provide guided natural language interactions with a connected data system, such as a graph database. In various embodiments, natural language input associated with a graph database query associated with a graph data set is received. The natural language input is processed to generate a set of candidate strings. At least a subset of the candidate strings is mapped to an entity in the graph data set. The entity and data comprising the graph data are used set to determine a candidate graph pattern associ- ated with the graph database query. The candidate graph pattern is used to guide a user associated with the natural language input to refine the graph database query.