Jan 18, 2013 David Lang

Become a Searching εἰς, Part 5

In this series of posts, we've been exploring some of the 'ace' techniques you can use to define very precise original language searches. Here's what we've learned so far:

  • Part 1: To search for a Greek lexical form, simply enter the word and hit return. To keep things simple and minimize mistakes, Accordance ignores breathing marks, accents, vowel points, and case—even if you happen to enter them.
  • Part 2: To make sure Accordance uses breathing marks, accents, etc. to distinguish one lexical form from another with the same spelling (such as εἰς rather than εἷς), simply put an equals sign in front of the word.
  • Part 3: Explained that when you search for a Greek word, Accordance assumes you are entering the lexical form of that word and that you want to find every inflected form of that lexical form.
  • Part 4: To search for a particular inflected form rather than all inflections of a lexical form, simply put quotes around it.

In Part 4, we searched for "=εἷς", using both the quotes to indicate we were looking for an inflected form and the equals sign to make sure Accordance paid attention to the breathing mark and accent.


I then asked what would happen if we removed the equals sign and just used the quotes. In this post, I want to answer that question. My hope is that it will help cement in your minds the difference between the quotation marks and the equals sign.

Go ahead and remove the equals sign from the previous search so that your search argument looks like this: "εἷς". When you hit Return, you should see something like this:


Remember that we had set up an Analysis tab to list all the inflected forms beneath each lexical form. With this search, we have found every inflected form spelled epsilon-iota-sigma, regardless of its accent or breathing mark. The presence of the quotes tells Accordance we are searching for inflected forms, but the absence of the equals sign tells Accordance to ignore the accents, breathing marks, and case. Accordance therefore finds five different inflected forms from two different lexical forms—inflected forms which differ with respect to case, accent, and breathing mark.

Thus, if you're wanting to find an inflected form with a specific spelling and accentuation, you'll want to include both the quotes (to indicate inflected form) and the equals sign (to indicate that you want the accents considered).

Now, you need to understand that such a specific search might exclude some occurrences which are accented in an unusual way. For example, look at the inflected form εἴς in the screenshot above. Normally, the preposition εἰς does not take an accent, but in one case it does take an accent because it happens to be followed by an enclitic. I'll show you how to find that rare occurrence in my next post, but for now I want you to understand that searching for exact inflected forms by including both the quotes and the equals sign may exclude cases you may not want to exclude, such as when a form is capitalized, takes an iota subscript, or is otherwise accented in an unusual way.

This last point brings us back full circle to the reason Accordance ignores all that stuff by default: it's just too easy to miss something if you always have to consider every combination of case, accent, and breathing mark. So while Accordance gives you the tools to construct very precise searches, you don't need to know those 'ace' techniques in order to use Accordance effectively.

Bookmark and Share

Archived Comments

Rhema Church Edinburgh

January 23, 2013 2:43 PM

Thanks for these great tips Accordance Bible! 

Great to know that there are experts like you to help guide us in the use of these great tools!