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The OR and | Operators

Specify synonyms or alternative forms with an uppercase OR or | (vertical bar).

The OR operator, for which you may also use | (vertical bar), applies to the search terms immediately adjacent to it. The first and second examples will find pages that include either “Tahiti” or “Hawaii” or both terms, but not pages that contain […]

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

The ~ Operator

Find synonyms by preceding the term with a ~, which is known as the tilde or synonym operator.

The tilde (~) operator takes the word immediately following it and searches both for that specific word and for the word’s synonyms. It also searches for the term with alternative endings. The tilde operator works best when applied […]

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This page was last modified on: Sunday December 16, 2012

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

Special Notation

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.

You can fine-tune your search query and increase the accuracy of its results by using special characters and operators, such as +, –, ~, .., OR, and quotation marks.
Force Google to include a term by preceding the term with a “+” sign.


The + operator is typically used in front of stop words that Google would […]

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This page was last modified on: Friday February 2, 2007

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.