Proximity Connectors

The following proximity connectors help you define the relationships between terms you are searching on.

For information on connecting your search terms, see Search Term Connectors. Additionally, for information on using wildcard characters in your search terms, see Search Connector Wildcards.

Note: To view all search connectors (term and proximity) and wildcard characters on a single page so you can print a single document, see Search Connectors Quick Reference Card.

 

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

This connector is especially useful in situations where a different word order significantly alters meaning. For example, summary judgment is significantly different from judgment summary.

You can use all 3 of these connectors interchangeably:

  • +n
  • onear/n
  • pre/n
This search finds documents where the word overtime precedes compensation within 3 words:

overtime pre/3 compensation

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

You can use +p in place of pre/p if you wish. Both commands function the same way.

This search finds documents where the word overtime precedes the word compensation within approximately 75 words:

overtime pre/p compensation

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

You can use +s in place of pre/s if you wish. Both commands function the same way.

This search finds documents where the word overtime precedes the word compensation within approximately 25 words:

overtime pre/s compensation

w/n or /nUse the w/n connector to find documents in which the first word appears within n words of the second one.
  • For search words to appear in approximately the same phrase, use w/3 up to w/5
  • For search words to appear in approximately the same sentence, use w/25
  • For search words to appear in approximately the same paragraph, use w/75

Choosing a number greater than or equal to 100 is likely to retrieve documents in which your search words are used in unrelated contexts.

Note: Multiple w/n connectors operate from left to right, regardless of the value of n. This search finds dog within 10 words of cat, and then fish within 5 words of either dog or cat:

dog w/10 cat w/5 fish

The following search finds documents where the word vicious occurs within 3 words of dog:

vicious w/3 dog

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

You can use all 3 of these connectors interchangeably:

  • w/para
  • /p
  • w/p
This search finds retirement within 75 words of benefit:

retirement w/p benefit

This example finds subcontract or sub-contract within the same paragraph as architect:

subcontract or sub-contract /p architect

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

You can use all 3 of these connectors interchangeably:

  • w/sent
  • /s
  • w/s
This search finds earnings within 25 words of taxation:

earnings /s taxation

w/segUse 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.This search finds documents where the word unreported and income appear in the same segment.

unreported w/seg income

near/nUse 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.

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

  • For search words to appear in approximately the same phrase, use near/3-near/5
  • For search words to appear in approximately the same sentence, use near/25
  • For search words to appear in approximately the same paragraph, use near/75

Choosing a number greater than 100 is likely to retrieve documents in which your search words are used in unrelated contexts.

Multiple near/n connectors operate from left to right, regardless of the value of n. This search finds dog within 10 words of cat, and then fish within 5 words of either dog or cat:

dog near/10 cat near/5 fish

This 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.

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

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.

You can use all 3 of these connectors interchangeably:

  • pre/n
  • +n
  • onear/n
This search finds documents where the word overtime occurs within 3 words of compensation:

overtime onear/3 compensation

atleastUse 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.

You can use any number with the atleast command.

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

atleast10(cercla)

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