Terms & Connectors Complete Reference

Tip: You can create a printable PDF version of this help article by selecting the PDF icon (Create PDF button) at the top of this page.

This article includes all of the help articles associated with terms & connectors searches.

How multiple search connectors are evaluated

Lexis Advance® Pacific uses the following order of operations for connector searches:

  1. or
  2. proximity connectors1, such as near/n, onear/n, /seg,  w/n,  pre/n,  NOT/n,  NOT/seg, /s, /p, w/sent, w/para
  3. and
  4. and not

Example:     bankrupt! w/25 discharg! and student or college or education! w/5 loan

This search query is processed in the following way:

  1. or has the highest priority, so it operates first. In this example, student or college or education! is processed as a unit, which is created by the or connector.
  2. w/5 ties together the term loan and the student or college or education! unit.
  3. w/25 operates next and creates a unit of the bankrupt! w/25 discharg! terms.
  4. and operates last and links the units formed in the second and third items above.

and Connector

Use the and connector to find documents containing two specific words or phrases, regardless of the order in which they appear or their proximity to each other. For example, the following search finds documents in which the words "cat" and "dog" both appear:

cat and dog

Searches using only the and connector typically retrieve many documents, but within those documents, the search words or phrases may often appear in unrelated contexts.

Similarity to other connectors

The /n connector is similar to the and connector, and you may find it more useful because it retrieves only documents where the search terms appear in the same document section, no more than a user-specified number of words apart. The onear/n and pre/n connectors are also similar and even more specific: the two search terms must not only appear in the same document section no more than a specified number of words apart, they must also appear in a user-specified order (for example, "cats and dogs" rather than "dogs and cats").

Therefore, the following three searches are successively more precise ways of finding documents containing the term "fiduciary duty":

  • fiduciary and duty
  • fiduciary near/3 duty
  • fiduciary onear /3 duty

Using multiple and connectors

For search expressions containing two or more and connectors, the search retieves all documents containing all the connected words, phrases, or logical units, regardless of order or proximity to one another.

For more information, see How multiple search connectors are evaluated.

or Connector

Use the or connector to find all documents that contain either or both of the words or phrases linked by the or connector. The location of the word or words within the document does not matter. For example, the following search finds all documents that contain the word "ship" and/or "boat":

ship or boat

The or connector is useful for finding synonyms, antonyms, alternative spellings, or abbreviations as in the following examples:

Synonymsship or boat
Antonymsreasonable or unreasonable
Alternative spellingstakeover or take over
Abbreviationsbritish broadcasting corporation or b.b.c. or bbc

Using multiple or connectors

For search expressions containing two or or connectors, the search retieves all documents containing any of the connected words, phrases, or logical units, regardless of their location in the documents.

For more information, see How multiple search connectors are evaluated.

and not Connector

Use the and not connector to exclude documents containing specific words or phrases. For example, the following search finds documents containing the word "capital" but not the word "gains":

capital and not gains

In this example, the search finds all documents containing the term "capital" except those that also contain the term "gains".

Using multiple and not connectors

Because of the priority order in which Lexis Advance Pacific evaluates search conectors, if you want to exclude documents containing two or more specific words or phrases, you must precede each of those words or phrases with an and not connector. For example, to find documents containing the word "capital" while excluding documents that contain either the word "gains" or the word "improvements", you must write the search expression as follows:

capital and not gains and not improvements

This search finds all documents containing the term "capital", except those that also contain either "gains" or "investments".

Important: As suggested, because of the priority order in which Lexis Advance Pacific evaluates search connectors, the search expression "capital and not gains or investments" is NOT evaluated to mean "(capital) and not (gains or investments)". Instead, it is evaluated to mean "(capital or investments) and not (gains)". Therefore, to enhance your understanding of how Lexis Advance Pacific will evaluate search expressions containing one or more "and not" connectors, it is often helpful to place the "and not" connectors at the end of the expressions. For more information, see How multiple search connectors are evaluated.

/n Connector

Use the /n connector to find documents in which a given word appears within "n" words of another given word in the same document section. The value of "n" can be any number up to 255. For example, the following search finds documents where the word "cat" occurs within 6 words of "dog":

cat /6 dog

The order in which the words appear within the document does not matter. Therefore, this search finds documents containing the terms "cats and dogs", "dogs or cats", "dog allergens differ from those of cat", and so on.

Similarity to other connectors

The /n connector operates exactly the same as the w/n and near/n connectors. It operates similarly to the onear/n and pre/n connectors, except the order in which the words appear within the document matters to the onear/n and pre/n connectors.

Specifying the value of "n"

Although the value of "n" can be any number up to 255, you may want to choose a number less than 100, as choosing a number larger than 100 may retrieve results in which your search words appear in unrelated contexts. You may find these guidelines useful:

Choose this...For the search words to appear...
/3 - /5in approximately the same phrase
/25in approximately the same sentence
/75in approximately the same paragraph

Using multiple /n connectors

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

For more information, see How multiple search connectors are evaluated.

onear/n Connector

Use the onear/n connector to find documents where a given word is followed within "n" words by another given word. Or, stated differently, to find documents where the first word precedes the second word by not more than "n" words. This connector is especially useful where a different word order significantly alters meaning. For example, "summary judgment" is significantly different from "judgment summary".

The value of "n" can be any number up to 255, and the two words must appear in the same document section. For example, the following search finds documents where the word "cat" is followed within three words by the word "dog":

cat onear/3 dog

As stated, the order in which the words appear within the document matters. Therefore, this search finds documents containing the terms "cats and dogs", "cats or dogs", and so on, but not "dogs and cats", "dogs or cats", and so on.

Similarity to other connectors

The onear/n connector operates exactly the same as the pre/n connector. It operates similarly to the /n connector, except that the order in which the words appear within the document does not matter to the /n connector.

Specifying the value of "n"

Although the value of "n" can be any number up to 255, you may want to choose a number less than 100, as choosing a number larger than 100 may retrieve results in which your search words appear in unrelated contexts. You may find these guidelines useful:

Choose this...For the search words to appear...
onear/3 - near/5in approximately the same phrase
onear/25in approximately the same sentence
onear/75in approximately the same paragraph

Using multiple onear/n connectors

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

pre/n Connector

Use the pre/n connector to find documents where a given word is followed within "n" words by another given word. Or, stated differently, to find documents where the first word precedes the second word by not more than "n" words. This connector is especially useful where a different word order significantly alters meaning. For example, "summary judgment" is significantly different from "judgment summary".

The value of "n" can be any number up to 255, and the two words must appear in the same document section. For example, the following search finds documents where the word "cat" is followed within three words by the word "dog":

cat pre/3 dog

As stated, the order in which the words appear within the document matters. Therefore, this search finds documents containing the terms "cats and dogs", "cats or dogs", and so on, but not "dogs and cats", "dogs or cats", and so on.

Similarity to other connectors

The pre/n connector operates exactly the same as the onear/n connector. It operates similarly to the /n connector, except that the order in which the words appear within the document does not matter to the /n connector.

Specifying the value of "n"

Although the value of "n" can be any number up to 255, you may want to choose a number less than 100, as choosing a number larger than 100 may retrieve results in which your search words appear in unrelated contexts. You may find these guidelines useful:

Choose this...For the search words to appear...
pre/3 - pre/5in approximately the same phrase
pre/25in approximately the same sentence
pre/75in approximately the same paragraph

Using Multiple pre/n Connectors

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

/p Connector

Use the /p (within paragraph) connector to find documents where the search terms appear within the same paragraph, or within approximately 75 words of each other. The order in which the words appear within the document does not matter. For example, the following search finds documents where the word "retirement" appears within the same paragraph as the word "benefit":

retirement /p benefit

Note: You can use the w/p or w/para connectors in place of the /p connector. All three function in exactly the same way.

/s Connector

Use the /s (within sentence) connector to find documents where the search terms appear within the same sentence, or within approximately 25 words of each other. The order in which the words appear within the document does not matter. For example, the following search finds documents where the word "earnings" appears within the same sentence as the word "taxation":

earnings /s taxation

Note: You can use the w/s or w/sent connectors in place of the /s connector. All three function in exactly the same way.

Using * and ! to find variations at the end of root words

Use the asterisk (*) or exclamation (!) wildcard characters at the end of a root word to find the root word and all the words that can be made by adding letters to the end of it, including plurals.

For example, employ* or employ! finds the term employ and such variations as employee, employer, employment, and their plurals.

You can also use these wild cards within quotation marks.

For example, "third party benefi!" finds variations such as third party benefit, third party benefits, third party benefiting, third party beneficiary, and third party beneficiaries.

Tip:

When using these wildcard characters, it is best if you:

  • Use a root word of three characters or more.
  • Use unique root words. For example, fir* or fir! finds fire, fired, firing, and fires, but also finds first, which you may not want.

Using ? to find variations within words

Use the question mark (?) wildcard character to represent variable characters within a word. Use one question mark to represent each variable character the word may contain. This wild card can also be used within quotation marks.

For example, int???et finds internet and intranet but does not find interpret, and "int???et site" finds internet site and intranet site.

Tip: You can also use the asterisk (*) wildcard character within a word to represent a variable number of variable characters, but you should use it with caution. For example, li*orice finds licorice and liquorice and little else, but col*r finds not only color and colour, but hundreds of other words.

1 Proximity connectors are processed from the smallest to the largest

Copyright © 2022  LexisNexis.  All rights reserved.