Search Connectors Quick Reference Card

Tip: You can save or print a copy of this page. To save the page as an RTF document, select Save as RTF. To save the page as a PDF document, select Save as PDF. To print the page, select Print.

How do I use search connectors?

Follow these steps to use search connectors to define relationships between your search terms.

  1. On the search form, enter your search terms.
  2. Enter one or more search connectors to join your search terms. For more information and example searches for each search connector, see Using Search Connectors (and, or, etc.) and Commands (atleast).
  3. Click the Search button.

and Connector

Use the and connector to find words that are far apart from one another or in different sections. Searches using and usually find more documents than searches using the near connector. As a general rule, use and when it doesn't matter where your search words appear in a document. Use the near connector when there is a connection between your search terms and you need to find the terms near each other.

For example, to find general information about budget deficits, you could use this search:

budget and deficit

However, to find documents that are relevant when your search terms are less specific, you may need to use the near connector. For example, the following search will find more relevant documents than if the and connector were used:

fiduciary near/1 duty near/10 breach

Note: You can use an ampersand (&) in place of and. The two connectors operate the same way.

atleast Command

Use the atleast command to require that a term or terms appear "at least" so many times in a document. Use atleast when you want only documents that contain an in-depth discussion on a topic rather than just a mention.

For example, the following search requires references to CERCLA (the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) to appear in every document at least 10 times:

atleast10(cercla)

You can use any number with the atleast command.

or Connector

Use the or connector to find documents that contain either or both of the words or phrases linked by or. Use the or connector to link search words that are synonyms, antonyms, alternative spellings, or abbreviations.

Synonymsship or vessel or boat
Antonymsreasonable or unreasonable
Alternativestakeover or take over
Abbreviationsbritish broadcasting corporation or b.b.c. or bbc

The search looks for the words or phrases linked by the or connector, not the word "or" itself. The words or phrases linked by or can be in any part of a document.

and not Connector

Use the and not connector to find documents in which a search word or phrase is to be excluded.

For example, the following search finds documents where the word "capital" occurs but the word "gains" does not.

capital and not gains

Because the exclusion covers the entire document, in this example, a document would be excluded if the word "gains" appears anywhere in the document.

You can exclude documents containing multiple words this way:

capital and not gains and not improvements

This example finds documents where the word "capital" occurs but the words "gains" and "improvements" do not.

Note: You can use these connectors in the same way as the and not connector.
  • andnot
  • but not
  • butnot
All these connectors operate the same way.

w/n Connector

Use the w/n connector to find documents in which the first word appears within "n" words of the second one.

For example, the following search finds documents where the word "vicious" occurs within 3 words of "dog".

vicious w/3 dog

Specifying the value of "n"

When choosing the value of n, these guidelines may prove useful:

Choose this...For search words to appear here...
w/3 - w/5in approximately the same phrase
w/25in approximately the same sentence
w/75in approximately the same paragraph
Tip: Although you may choose any number for n, you may want to choose a number less than 100. Choosing a number greater than 100 is likely to retrieve documents in which your search words are used in unrelated contexts.

Using Multiple w/n Connectors

Multiple w/n connectors are processed from the smallest to the largest.

/n Connector

Use the /n connector to find documents in which the first word appears within "n" words of the second one.

For example, the following search finds documents where the word "vicious" occurs within 3 words of "dog".

vicious /3 dog

Note: You can use the /n connector in the same way as the w/n connector. The two connectors operate the same way.

Specifying the value of "n"

When choosing the value of n, these guidelines may prove useful:

Choose this...For search words to appear here...
/3 - /5in approximately the same phrase
/25in approximately the same sentence
/75in approximately the same paragraph
Tip: Although you may choose any number for n, you may want to choose a number less than 100. Choosing a number greater than 100 is likely to retrieve documents in which your search words are used in unrelated contexts.

Using Multiple /n Connectors

Multiple /n connectors are processed from the smallest to the largest.

w/p or /p Connector

Use the w/p or /p (within paragraph) connector to find documents with search words that appear within approximately 75 words of each other.

For example, the following example finds "retirement" 75 words of "benefit":

retirement w/p benefit

The following example finds "subcontract" or "sub-contract" within the same paragraph as "architect":

subcontract or sub-contract /p architect

Note: You can use w/para in place of /p or w/p. All 3 function the same way.

w/s or /s Connector

Use the w/s or /s (within sentence) connector to find documents with search words that appear within approximately 25 words of each other.

For example, the following finds "earnings" within 25 words of "taxation":

earnings /s taxation

Note: You can use w/sent in place of /s or w/s. All 3 function the same way.

w/seg Connector

Use the w/seg connector to find documents in which your search terms appear in the same segment (headline, body, etc.), or within approximately 100 words of each other.

For example, the following search finds documents where the word "unreported" and "income" appear in the same segment.

unreported w/seg income

near/n Connector

Use the near/n connector to find documents with search words that appear within "n" words of each other. The value of "n" can be any number. Use near/n to join words and phrases that express parts of a single idea or to join closely-associated ideas.

Words or phrases linked by near/n must be in the same section (a specific part of a document). Either word may appear first.

For example, the following search finds documents in which both words appear in the same section, within three or fewer words of one another.

richard near/3 branson

It retrieves documents containing the words Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, Richard Branson and Branson, Richard.

Specifying the value of "n"

When choosing the value of n, these guidelines may prove useful:

Choose this...For search words to appear here...
near/3 - near/5in approximately the same phrase
near/25in approximately the same sentence
near/75in approximately the same paragraph
Tip: Although you may choose a number for n, you may want to choose a number less than 100. Choosing a number greater than 100 is likely to retrieve documents in which your search words are used in unrelated contexts.

Using Multiple near Connectors

Multiple near/n connectors are processed from the smallest to the largest.

onear/n Connector

Use the onear/n connector to find documents in which the first word precedes the second by not more than "n" words.

For example, the following search finds documents where the word "overtime" occurs within 3 words of "compensation".

overtime onear/3 compensation

onear/n is especially useful in situations where a different word order significantly alters meaning. For example, "summary judgment" is significantly different from "judgment summary."

Note: You can use pre/n or +n connector in the same way as the onear/n connector. All 3 connectors operate the same way.

pre/n Connector

Use the pre/n connector to find documents in which the first word precedes the second by not more than "n" words.

For example, the following search finds documents where the word "overtime" precedes "compensation" within 3 words.

overtime pre/3 compensation

pre/n is especially useful in situations where a different word order significantly alters meaning. For example, "summary judgment" is significantly different from "judgment summary."

Note: You can use +n or onear/n in place of pre/n. All 3 commands function the same way.

pre/s Connector

Use the pre/s connector to find documents in which the first word precedes the second within approximately 25 words of each other.

For example, the following search finds documents where the word "overtime" precedes the word "compensation" within approximately 25 words.

overtime pre/s compensation

Note: You can use +s in place of pre/s. Both commands function the same way.

pre/p Connector

Use the pre/p connector to find documents in which the first word precedes the second within approximately 75 words of each other.

For example, the following search finds documents where the word "overtime" precedes the word "compensation" within approximately 75 words.

overtime pre/p compensation

Note: You can use +p in place of pre/p. Both commands function the same way.

Using not with proximity connectors

You can use not with proximity connectors. Here are the proximity connectors you can use with not and examples of how they are used.

Proximity ConnectorExampleFinds
w/ntrust NOT w/5 charitableDocuments where the word "trust" occurs but not within 5 words of "charitable"
w/senttrust NOT w/sent charitableDocuments where the word "trust" occurs but not within 25 words of "charitable"
w/paratrust NOT w/para charitableDocuments where the word "trust" occurs but not within 75 words of "charitable"
w/segtrust NOT w/seg charitableDocuments where the word "trust" occurs but not within 100 words of "charitable"
pre/ntrust NOT pre/3 charitableDocuments where the word "trust" and "charitable" appear in the same document, but not when "trust" precedes "charitable" by 3 words or fewer.

Using ! to Find Variations of a Word

Use an exclamation mark (!) to find a root word plus all the words made by adding letters to the end of it. For example, employ! would find variations on the term employ such as employee, employer, employment, and their plurals.

Note:
  • There must be at least 3 characters prior to the ! or you may receive unexpected results.
  • Use ! only to find unique roots; fir! will find fired, firing and fires, but will also find first, which you may not want.
  • Do not use ! inside quotation marks, or you may receive unexpected results. Enclosing anything in quotation marks finds only exact matches to whatever is inside them. For example, the search “corp!” will find corp! but not words beginning with corp, such as corporate or corporation.

Using * to Find Variations of a Word

Use an asterisk (*) to find a root word plus all the words made by adding letters to the end of it. For example, employ* would find variations on the term employ such as employee, employer, employment, and their plurals.

Note:
  • Use * only to find unique roots; fir* will find fired, firing and fires, but will also find first, which you may not want.
  • You can use an exclamation mark (!) in place of the * if you want. Both function in the same way, but there must be at least 3 characters in front of the ! or you might receive unexpected results.
  • Do not use * inside quotation marks. Enclosing anything in quotation marks finds only exact matches to whatever is inside them. For example, the search “corp*” will find corp* but not words beginning with corp, such as corporate or corporation.

Using ? to Find Variations of a Word

Use a question mark (?) to find variations of a word by replacing characters anywhere in the word, except the first character. Use one question mark for each character you want to replace.

Examples:

  • wom?n would find woman and women
  • p??rson would find both the ea and the ie spelling of the name
  • Do not use ? inside quotation marks. Enclosing anything in quotation marks finds only exact matches to whatever is inside them. For example, the search “cens?r” would find only “cens?r” and would not find censor or censer.

Copyright © 2020  LexisNexis.  All rights reserved.