The quickest way to find information in AWE is to look it up directly. On the left-hand side of your screen there is a Search box with two buttons under it labeled "Go" and "Search".
If you clicked Search, or you clicked Go and the page you were looking for did not exist, you will be presented with a list of articles that matched your search criteria (or a message that no matches were found). If these exist, you will see up to two lists.
- The first is of "Article title matches", which will present you with articles which contain the word(s) you are looking for. Scan these, and you may see what you want.
- The second list is of "Page text matches", which lists the pages that contain the word(s) anywhere in the text. With words like 'form', which AWE uses a lot, there may be too many of these to be useful (currently 'form yields over 600 matches). For less common words, this list may be helpful.
How it works
Here's how the search works:
- Even if you enclose a phrase in quotes, the search looks for each word individually. e.g. if you enter "world war 2" it will return pages that contain "world" and "war" and "2".
- The search is not case-sensitive, so "MediaWiki", "mediawiki" and "MEDIAWIKI" all give the same result.
- The search engine deliberately ignores common words that occur very frequently. These include short words and words like "have" or "from". However, these short or common words are often precisely the ones that readers may be interested in! (There's a lot to be said about 'and' or 'its'.) Because articles exist with precisely these titles, you can jump straight to them with the Go button.
What to search for
An article has a title as a dictionary has a headword. For example, the page about nouns is 'noun'; 'malapropism' will tell you what the word means; and '-ing' will guide you to Participle: the technical name in grammar for the commonest use of '-ing' is 'the present participle'. (This site also links to 'verbal noun', the other main use of the suffix '-ing'.) If you enter a different form of the word, the search results will usually get you there: the results for correspondence include co-respondent - correspondent, an article which will help you with the spelling and meaning of correspondence. Guidance about some words is mentioned in an article with a completely different title: such a link should be shown in the Page text matches.
Some articles are about several words - these usually clarify common confusions or spelling errors. Such articles can be reached by searching for any of the individual words. You'll find help on the difference between flaunt and flout whether you search for 'flaunt' or 'flout'.
There are also articles on more general topics, such as etymology or the spelling pattern -eign. Some such articles contain advice on particular examples of the phenomenon described in the general articles: a search for 'deign', for example, will take you to the '-eign' page.