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The - Operator

Precede each term you do not want to appear in any result with a “–” sign.

To find pages without a particular term, put a – sign operator in front of the word in the query. The – sign indicates that you want to subtract or exclude pages that contain a specific term. Do not put […]

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This page was last modified on: Tuesday May 1, 2007

Interpreting Your Query

Understanding how Google treats your search terms will help you devise effective queries and revise ineffective ones.
1. All Search Terms Count

Google returns only pages that match all your search terms.

A search for [ compact fold-up bicycle ] finds pages containing the words “compact” and “fold-up” and “bicycle.” Because you don’t need to include the word AND between your […]

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This page was last modified on: Sunday February 26, 2012

More Relevant Results

Note: Nancy uses this page for presentations on her favorite Google features. You can find more information about these features in other sections of Google Guide.

Google returns pages that match variants of your search terms.


The query above finds pages that contain words that are similar to some or all of your search terms, e.g.,

“child,” “children,” or “children’s”
“bicycle,” “bicycles,” “bicycle’s,” “bicycling,” or “bicyclists”
“helmet” or “helmets”

Google calls this feature word variations or automatic stemming.

Want only Exact Matches?
Disable automatic stemming by surrounding […]

...read all of: More Relevant Results

This page was last modified on: Sunday February 26, 2012

For Google tips, tricks, & how Google works, visit Google Guide at www.GoogleGuide.com. Google Guide is neither affiliated with nor endorsed by Google.

Creative Commons

By Nancy Blachman and Jerry Peek who aren't Google employees. For permission to copy & create derivative works, visit Google Guide's Creative Commons License webpage.