I'm trying to filter my Gmail inbox for all messages that are not a part of a starred conversation. If I search just for -in:starred and start combing through the first few pages of results, everything looks okay. When I try to combine it with a date filter, I immediately see messages that should not be appearing. Any ideas why this combination of search filters would be returning invalid results?

Screenshot showing invalid results for my search.

  • Take out the word AND. Gmail is searching for it. It is not a boolean operator in Gmail searches.
    – Blindspots
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 2:45
  • Thanks for the tip! Unfortunately, the results I'm seeing are identical with and without the (needless) AND.
    – Brandon
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 17:53
  • 1
    Switch off conversation view and see if you get what you expect.
    – Blindspots
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 20:40

1 Answer 1


Many times when search is finding conversations that you aren't expecting, the issue is conversation view.

If one message in a conversation meets the criteria, then gmail is going to show you the conversation, even though externally it doesn't seem to match the criteria.

For example: if there are two messages in a conversation but only one message has a star, then the GUI will show a star next to the conversation. However a search for is:starred will find the conversation and another search for -is:starred will also find the conversation.

If you temporarily turn off conversation view the results should match what you expect.

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