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Boolean Logic/Using Terms and Connectors when Searching Online for Legal Documents

Plurals and Possessives

Plural’s & Possessives

  1. Woman retrieves women, woman’s and women’s; women or woman’s will not retrieve woman.
  2. Use the singular form of a word unless you have a good reason not to.


  1. Search term 415 also retrieves 415.5 or 415(b).  415.1 or 415(b) will not retrieve 415.
  2. Using a number as a search term is helpful when you are looking for the mention of a statute that may or may not be cited as a particular paragraph or section.  If you search for 415, you will retrieve documents with a page number of 415 or cases with a volume number of 415; adding the section number or paragraph number will eliminate false hits.  


  1. On LexisAdvance, a hyphen is treated as a space.
  2. Ex: post-conviction gets post-conviction and post conviction but not postconviction.
  3. On LexisAdvance, if you have any question whether a word is hyphenated or not, search for both versions: post-conviction AND postconviction
  4. On WestlawNext, a hyphen does not function as a space.
  5. Ex: post-conviction gets post-conviction and post conviction and also postconviction.
  6. On WestlawNext, if you have any question whether a word might or might not be hyphenated, add the hyphen. It can’t hurt.


  1. WestlawNext:
    1. E.P.A. retrieves E.P.A, E P A, E. P. A., and  EPA.
  2. LexisAdvance:
    1. You must enter the variations: E.P.A. or E. P. A. or  EPA or E P A