Examples (Click to run)

Sample matches

One "slot" : Make sure there is no space, or it will be interpreted as two consecutive words


One exact word



     (See notes on words with apostrophes, e.g. doesn't, won't, they've, we're, that's)


Lemmas (all forms of a word)


sing, singing, sang
tall, taller, tallest


Wildcard: * = any # letters
Wildcard: ? = one letter


unlikely, unusually
sing, sang, song
song, singer, songbirds


Any of these words


stunning, charming, gorgeous


[More information]


formidible, muscular, fervent



Part of speech
[More information]

were [vvg*]
several people [v*]


were going, using
several people were, will, waiting


NOT (followed by PoS, lemma, word, etc. Most useful for "multiple slot" queries; see below)

pretty -[nn*]

pretty sure, pretty and
But not: pretty girls, pretty dress

Combination of preceding
You can limit to a particular part of speech by adding a period (full stop) and then the part of speech tag in brackets. This is always optional. Make sure there is no space before or after the period (full stop), or it will be interpreted as two consecutive words. Note that there is currently only one option (wildcard for word form + part of speech). There are other possibilities for the other corpora, which may be added to the Google Books corpus in the future.
word*.[pos] Substring and part of speech dis*.[v*] disappear, discovering, disapproved
    *ly.[r*] usually, nearly, finally
Wildcard "slots" : Just use an asterisk (*) as placeholder "slots" in the query.

a * nice person

a genuinely nice person
a real nice person
ask * to * ask you to do
ask Bill to somehow
Multiple "slots" : Create sequences of words, using any of the preceding query types. Note that in each case, there is a space between the word "slots" in the query. These are just a few examples, from an unlimited number of combinations.

nook and cranny

nook and cranny

nook* and crann*

nook and cranny
nooks and crannies

fast|quick|rapid [nn*]

fast offerings
rapid growth

pretty -[nn*]

pretty sure
pretty and
(but not pretty girl, pretty dress, etc)

[ask] him|them to [v*]

ask him to bless
asked them to come

[break] the [nn*]

break the laws
broke the bands

truly|very [=gorgeous] [nn*]

really beautiful woman
truly magnificent scale

some * [=gorgeous] [nn*]

some really beautiful things
some rather beautiful paintings

[=walk] *ly.[r*] to|towards

march quickly towards
paced nervously to