In explication and other searches the following four special characters can be useful:
Square brackets represent a set of choices — for instance, b[aei]t returns only words with <bat>, <bet>, and <bit>,
and no words with <b> and <t> separated by any other letter.
Inside square brackets a leading exclamation point, !, represents not — for instance, b[!aei]t returns words with <b> and <t>
separated by any letter except <a>, <e>, or <i>.
An underscore, _, represents any single letter or number, so b_t returns bet, but etc.
The percent sign, %, represents any number of letters or numbers (including none at all), so d%t retunrs words like dot,
celebrate, and debt.
In explication searches the diagonal, /, indicates the the following letter is deleted when the word is formed.
So to get a thorough search with words or elements that end in <y> or silent final <e>, do two searches —
one without the diagonal, one with it.
Doing a search with no search strings returns all records — 8,591 in CommonWords, 129,042 in Lexis.
And finally, because of the limited search capabilities of the on-line version, you should be alert of false hits. For more robust searches you can download the
pertinent txt files and load them into your own spreadsheet or database program.
Searching the Description returns some example words with that particle, plus a descriptive comment on it
and its meaning and function. It also returns a count of all the words in Lexis that contain it.