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I knew this question was there: When is it appropriate to use ‘that’ as opposed to ‘which’?, but I tried searching for it and couldn't find it. Many usage questions concern function words in English, so it would be nice if we could search for those function words and get reasonable results.

  • this is banned too. You cannot search for this question with this that. That’s a bug, not a feature. – fuxia Jul 16 '12 at 19:46
5

Additionally, the search page itself has a Google search option

https://english.stackexchange.com/search


(source: stackoverflow.com)

To get there enter enter in the search box (eg leave the search terms blank). This page is also linked in the sidebar on every search result page under "search tips".

  • 1
    Didn't you mean to say type enter in the search box? – SamB Mar 18 '11 at 0:45
3

Unfortunately, the current Stack Exchange search tool filters out stop words prior to indexing the site. The site's search tools are better suited for finding combinations of tags and indexed text. For pure text searches, it is better to use Google Search using the site: prefix:

site:english.stackexchange.com <your search query>

A Better Search Option

I find the "Related Questions" search extremely helpful for finding questions. Click on the Ask Question link and type in the title as clearly as you can remember it. The "Related Questions" will often do a much better job at finding the question than the native search tool.

  • 7
    It seems that on a site concerning questions of English usage, filtering out stop words is going to be ... problematic. Perhaps a feature request is in order to not drop indexing of stop words that are in quote marks on their own or otherwise indicated as being used as a word qua word (such as being italicized on its own), so questions that are about stop words can be found. – nohat Aug 6 '10 at 21:39
  • @nohat: Creating a separate questions tagged feature-request is the best way to log your feature suggestion. The core Q&A engine is the same for all sites but the developers will be evaluating site-specific features to address site-specific issues. – Robert Cartaino Aug 6 '10 at 21:58
  • It was worse on s.o. everytime they tweaked the search it stopped working for single letter terms like 'c' – mgb May 27 '11 at 17:56
3

Search now does a much better job of this, which is no longer a stop word - take a peek: https://english.stackexchange.com/search?q=appropriate+use+of+that+and+which

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