Section 5 Web Myths > URLs > Search Engines > Special Directories > Exercise > Precision Searching Strategies > Exercise

Boolean NOT

The Boolean NOT asks that documents with a certain term in them be excluded. Some search engines support a minus sign rather than the term not. The minus sign between terms serves the following functions:

NOT puts search terms in context and excludes unwanted documents.
(marihuana OR marijuana OR grass) NOT lawn

track* AND middle school NOT track and field

This search will retrieve documents about tracks or tracking in middle school, not track and field programs in middle school.

Note: Use the minus sign to exclude words in Google.


Truncation (also called stemming) allows users to retrieve any document with the search term in one form or another. Simply add an asterisk to the stem of a word as follows:

research* will bring up documents with any of the following forms of the word:

You can use truncation to bring up documents with the singular and plural forms of the word

child* will bring up child or children

Note: Child* might also produce "false hits," documents that are irrelevant, such as those with childless, childish, or childlike in them.

Note: Google does not support truncation.

Phrase Searching/Capitalizatization . Field Searching . Domain Restriction . Advanced Searching . Refining a Search .
Boolean Searching AND and OR. Boolean NOT/Truncation

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