Pinker search syntax

When entering search words on the search line, you can tell Pinker precisely what to look for (bold type denotes what you would type):

  1. Entering search words: arm
  2. Entering logical ("Boolean") expressions of search words (arm and leg, arm or leg, arm not leg). Boolean expressions can be formed with and, or, not; parentheses are supported. Multiple search words are automatically interpreted as combined by “and”, so arm leg gives the same search results as arm and leg.
  3. Entering phrases ("move your arm")
  4. Specifying spelling ('ARM', the company stock symbol; 'Arm', trying to find capitalised versions of the word only)

Examples for search line:

  • 'Upper/lower case Exactly AS spelled.' Case is matched, punctuation is ignored, wildcards are allowed
  • "this sequence of words regardless of upper/lower case spelling"; punctuation is ignored, wildcards are allowed
  • * any sequence of characters excluding white-space/punctuation
  • any single character excluding white-space/punctuation
  • Some characters cannot be found because they serve as wildcard symbols (e.g. ? *) or are used to separate words and are removed in the indexing process ( e.g.  . , - @)

When processing topics, additional rules apply:

  • Boolean expressions are not supported. Instead, you use Require, Exclude, Add_also, Suppress on entire topic branches.
  • Multiple words are automatically interpreted as phrases without the need to use . For example, clicking on topic tennis arm is equivalent to entering “tennis arm” on the search line.