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Mar 13, 2012 David Lang

Searching for Every Word

Yesterday I explained that entering an asterisk in a Bible window set to Verses will result in the entire text being displayed. Search for that same asterisk with Words selected, and Accordance will find and highlight every word in the text.

Why in the world would you want to search for every word in a text? Because Accordance offers statistical analysis tools which let you analyze every word found by a search. For example, search the tagged Greek New Testament for * <AND> [RANGE Mark] (you can find the AND and RANGE commands listed in the Enter Command submenu of the Search menu). Now choose Analysis from the Stats and Graphs pop-up menu of the Search window.

AllWordsinMark

An Analysis window will open listing every word in the book of Mark. Now choose Count Down from the Sort menu to see which words are used most often.

MarkWords

Once you scan past the common words at the top of the list, you see that words like "all," "many," and "crowd" are used quite frequently, as are the verbs for "seeing" and "hearing," and the adverb meaning "immediately" or "suddenly."

Seeing the words in a text which are used most often is a great way to spot its central themes. From here, you might explore the use of each of these words in context to see how and why they figure so prominently.

In addition to being shorthand for "show me everything" when Verses is selected, the asterisk is a quick and easy way to find every word in a text so that you can get an Analysis of those words. Once you've learned this trick, you'll find yourself using it often.


 

Mar 12, 2012 David Lang

Why is That Asterisk There?

Whenever you open a new resource in Accordance, you'll see an asterisk entered in the search entry box. Why is it there?

To understand the purpose of the asterisk, you must first understand that in Accordance, everything is a search. What you have entered in the search entry box of any resource window will determine what you see in that window's display pane. Enter a book name in a Bible window with Verses selected, and you'll see that book, and that book only, in the display pane of the window. Do a word search, and you'll see only those verses which contain that word.

If everything in Accordance is the result of a search, you need an easy way to display the entire contents of a book or Bible. Now you know what the asterisk is for. Any time an asterisk is entered in a Bible window with Verses selected, the entire search text is displayed from beginning to end.

Why don't we just make you enter a range of books like Genesis-Revelation rather than using an arcane asterisk symbol? Well, for one thing, it's a lot easier to enter an asterisk than to type the names of a first and last book. More importantly, what do I do when I open a corpus I'm not that familiar with, like the Dead Sea Scrolls or the works of Philo? If I don't know the first or last book off the top of my head, there's a chance I might enter the wrong books and end up viewing only a portion of those texts. The asterisk is a quick and easy way to say "show me everything" no matter what text I'm working with.

If you've been doing a series of searches and you just want to get back to viewing the entire text, it's easy enough to click the Verses button and type the asterisk, but an even easier method is simply to double-click the Verses button. Do that, and the asterisk will automatically be entered and the search window updated to show the entire text.

Now that you know what that asterisk symbol is there for, I'll use the next several posts to show you what else you can do with it.