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.