Apr 27, 2011 David Lang

Don't Make it Harder Than It Has to Be

When creating a complex Greek or Hebrew search, the less complicated you make it the less likely you are to get confused or introduce erroneous syntax. For example, the other day, I saw someone search for all verbs in a grammatically tagged text using the following search argument: *@[VERB]. If we break down the syntax piece by piece, the asterisk (*) when doing a Search for Words will find any word, the at symbol (@) connects a word to a tag so that the tag constrains the words that can be found, and the tag being used appears in square brackets. So this search looks for any word which has been tagged as a verb. It's perfectly acceptable search syntax, and it works just fine. However, it's more complicated than it needs to be. A search for the tag [VERB] by itself will accomplish the same thing.

In much the same way, I sometimes see people searching for adjacent words by using the WITHIN and FOLLOWED BY commands. For example, they might look for the phrase εγω ειμι like this: "εγω" <WITHIN 1 Words> <FOLLOWED BY> "ειμι". Again, that syntax certainly works, but it's much simpler just to enter the phrase: "εγω ειμι".

Here's another one. When you want to search for any of a series of words, you could string them all together using multiple OR commands, or you can simply enclose the list of words in parentheses with commas between them, like this: (love, joy, peace, patience). Both searches essentially do the same thing, but by using the parenthesized list you have a single expression which you can constrain using tags or link to other expressions using search commands.

Accordance is designed to offer simple ways to construct complex searches. If you take advantage of that simplicity, you'll be able to create extremely elaborate searches without getting confused by unduly complicated search syntax. So don't make it harder than it has to be. Keep it simple.

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