Terms & Connectors Quick Reference

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This article briefly describes the different connectors and wildcard characters you can use in terms & connectors searches. For detailed information about these items and more, select the corresponding links in the right margin.

ItemDescription
!

Use 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. This can be used within quotation marks. Use unique root words of three characters or more.

  • child! finds child, children, childless, childish, and so on.
  • "third party benefi!" finds finds third party benefit, third party benefits, third party beneficiary, and so on.
?

Use within a word to represent one or more variable characters. Use one ? for each variable letter. This can be used within quotation marks.

  • int???et finds internet and intranet.
  • int???et does not find interpret.
  • "int???et site" finds internet site and intranet site.
*

Use 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. This can be used within quotation marks. For best results, use unique root words of three characters or more.

  • child* finds child, children, childless, childish, and so on.

Use within a word to represent one or more variable characters. For best results, use with caution.

  • li*orice finds licorice and liquorice and little else.
  • "third party benefi*" finds finds third party benefit, third party benefits, third party beneficiary, and so on.
  • col*r finds not only color and colour, but hundreds of other words.
or

Use 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.

  • ship or boat finds all documents that contain the word "ship" and/or "boat".
and

Use to find documents containing two specific words or phrases, regardless of the order in which they appear or their proximity to each other. 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.

  • cat and dog finds documents in which the words "cat" and "dog" both appear.
and not

Use to exclude documents containing specific words or phrases. To enhance your understanding of how search expressions containing and not connectors will be evaluated, it is often helpful often to place the and not connectors at the end of search expressions.

  • capital and not gains finds all documents containing the term "capital" except those that also contain the term "gains".
/n

Use 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. The order in which the words appear within the document does not matter.

  • cat /6 dog finds documents where the word "cat" occurs within 6 words of "dog". It also finds documents containing "cats and dogs", "dogs or cats", "dog allergens differ from those of cat", and so on.
onear/n or pre/n

Use 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. 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.

  • cat onear/3 dog or cat pre/3 dog 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.
/p

Use 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.

  • retirement /p benefit finds documents where the word "retirement" appears within the same paragraph as the word "benefit".
/s

Use 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.

  • earnings /s taxation finds documents where the word "earnings" appears within the same sentence as the word "taxation".

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