Using Word Forms


The Word Forms options are found in the Advanced Search screen of OU Search. They give you control over how many variations of your query terms will be sought in your search. There are four Word Form options available"

  • Exact match: Only exact matches will be allowed. (the default)
  • Plurals & possessives: Plural and possessive forms will be found. (s, es, 's)
  • Any word forms: As many word forms as can be derived will be located.
  • Custom: Uses the Custom Suffix List, Custom Suffix Default Removal, and Custom Suffix Min Length settings to create your own custom behavior.

Sample of the Word Forms Portion of Advanced Search

Word Form Examples

Word president
"Exact" option president
"Plural" option president + presidents, president's
"Any" option president + presidents, president's + presidential presidency, preside, presides, presiding, presided


Word tight
"Exact" option tight
"Plural" option tight + tights
"Any" option tight + tights + tightly, tightening, tightened, tighter, tightest


Word program
"Exact" option program
"Plural" option program + programs, program's
"Any" option program + programs, program's + programming, programmatic, programmed, programmer, programmable


This process is called morpheme processing, and it is generally smarter than a traditional "stemming" algorithm. It doesn't just rip the end off a word, it actually checks to see if it could be a valid form of the search term.

More information is available on the Linguistic Controls page.

Notes: Thesaurus terms are also treated in the same manner. Words smaller than 4-5 characters will not be morpheme processed.