Never underestimate the importance of the quote mark.
Google automatically ignores many common words, such as "and," "or," "of," "a," etc. It also ignores some single digits or letters. This is usually not a bad thing, because the common words would just slow searches down without improving your results.
Occasionally it might be important to include one of these words in your search results. There are two ways to do this.
One technique is to use quotation marks. Anything inside quotation marks is automatically included in the search, and the search will include the exact phrase. For instance, "Rocky I" searches for the exact phrase Rocky I and will not find lyrics to "I Love Rocky Road."
Another way to force common words in your searches is with the plus sign. Searching for Rocky +I would find references to the movie and the Weird Al song. Make sure that you do put a space before the plus sign and do not put a space between the plus sign and the search word you want to include. Otherwise, the forced inclusion won't work.
Define: Your Terms
If you're really only interested in finding a quick dictionary style definition of "sesquipedalian" use the syntax define:. The search in this case would be define: sesquipedalian. From that search, we can see that the word means long-winded.
The information is coming from a variety of dictionary related websites, and there's a link to the full entry for each site in case you weren't satisified by a quick blurb. Google also provides links to related searches.
What If You Can't Spell?
If you aren't the best speller or you make a typo, don't worry. Google will still suggest an alternate search, just as it does for regular Web searches.
Google's Psychic Abilities
Define: is the Google syntax, but Google has gotten increasingly good at just guessing that you might want a definition. Typing in the word by itself might be enough.
movie: avengers seattle, wa
Note: Google is not forgiving with the spelling of movie names, and it won't tell you that the movie has left the theaters. You must spell the movie exactly the way it appears, although you can leave off words Google usually ignores, such as "a" or "the."
movie: avengers 98101
and it would work even better as:
because that would list all the movies playing in nearby theaters.
One great example of this is if you are looking for information about textbooks, but you didn't want to buy a textbook. An unrestricted Google search would mostly yield results from websites selling textbooks. One way to avoid this problem is to restrict your search to American universities. To do this, you'd search for:
You can use this to restrict searches are to US government sites site:gov, or only specific countries site:uk. You can combine the site: syntax with many other types of Google syntax, such as boolean searches and wildcard searches.
To find all documents containing either pears or apples, type: pears OR apples. You can also substitute the | character for OR, so pears | apples searches for the same thing. (That character is also known as a pipe.)
If you're searching for a phrase rather than just a single word, you can group the words together with quotation marks. Searching for "caramel apples" will search for only the exact phrase caramel apples. It will ignore carmel and apples. Searching for "caramel apples" |"candy apples" searches for either the exact phrase caramel apples or the exact phrase candy applesIf you're searching for more than one phrase or keyword in addition to the Boolean, you can group them with parenthesis, such as recipes brandy (apples | pears) to search for recipies using brandy with either apples or pears. You could even combine exact phrases and search for "candy apple" (recipe | review).