IRIS 42: Information and Research Instruction Suite for two-year colleges

Google Search Quirks

be aware to search smarter

Stop Words

Like most databases, Google ignores many common words that are called "stop" words. These words include as, the, on, where, how, for, to...

If you need to include stop words, put a plus sign + before the search term or surround the entire phrase with quotation marks.

google search for effects of radiation on skin, and another using plus signs in front of the stop words of and on


Google uses stemming technology. It will search for your search terms and for words similar to some or all of those terms.  For example, searching for librarian might also search library, libraries, or librarians.  Google does not provide a list of words that are stemmed so why and when it occurs is unpredictable. Sometimes you might appreciate stemming, but if you need an exact match, use quotation marks: "Washington librarians."

Google search for washington librarians


Google is NOT case sensitive; it shows both uppercase and lowercase results.

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google search for washington librarian google search for effects of radiation on skin (no qutation marks in the search) google search showing to put a plus sign in front of the stop wrds, like this: effects +of radiation +on skin