How can I ask Google search to use only the exact words (not entire phrase) I typed and not to use spell check and similar words/synonyms?

Here is a string I entered into Google's search form:

Mayavi plot3D vary tube radius

Many of the results I got back do not have the word "vary" but have the word "very" instead in bold, indicating Google searched specifically for "very" in addition to "vary."

Google also found results that had "diameter" instead of "radius" in bold, which although seems to be well-meaning, is not actually helpful for me, as "radius" is the name of a Mayavi variable I am working with, not "diameter."

Can I stop Google search from reporting results found with words similar to but different than the words I searched with, and how?

  • I just realized one solution--put the individual words that Google is changing in quotes, like so: Mayavi plot3D "vary" tube "radius." I wonder if there is a way to default search to this behavior.
    – jwco
    Commented Feb 26, 2012 at 18:03

4 Answers 4


Here are two articles about changes Google has made to search which affect required terms. First Google started silently ignoring some of the search terms included in multiple term searches (making all search terms required by default was one of the reasons I originally liked Google better than Yahoo). Then more recently they stopped supporting the "+" to force term inclusion, apparently because they want to use that in searches involving Google+.

Google Just Made Bing the Best Search Engine

Google Kills Its Other Plus, and How to Bring It Back

In years past, I could have searched for things like the following and only gotten pages that had all these terms:

bengals highlights simpson

I would only double-quote exact phrases I wanted matched, such as "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"

When I noticed the first change above several months ago, I started using the + operator, which had been previously redundant:

+bengals +highlights +simpson

Now it appears we have to separately double-quote each term we require which is a pain:

"bengals" "highlights" "simpson"


There’s a couple of things you can do to stop Google from being “helpful”:

  • Add + before the terms that must be included in the result (you can also put them in quotes as you have said)
    • To make it the default mode (find all terms), add as_q=all to the URL (this is not as effective as specifically prepending +)

  • Click the “Showing results for… Search instead for…” link to search for what you typed instead of what Google thinks you meant
    • To make it the default mode, add &nfpr=1 to the URL

So Googling for one of these should give only pages that have what you are looking for:

http://www.google.com/search?nfpr=1&as_q=all&q=Mayavi+plot3D+vary+tube+radius http://www.google.com/search?nfpr=1&q=Mayavi+plot3D+%2Bvary+tube+%2Bradius

  • 7
    Unfortunately, I believe Google recently stopped using the "+" for this purpose. Instead required terms must be individually enclosed in double quotes. Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 21:09
  • 1
    Yes, they said that, but it continues to work. Perhaps it depends on being logged in or the account, like with some of their experiments. In any case, the quotes (even on single words) serves the same purpose (and can still be added to a URL).
    – Synetech
    Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 21:50
  • 1
    In fact, if you click "Search instead for..." Google inserts the + operator to perform an exact match.
    – user13779
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 19:28
  • I wonder why companies like Google stop using "classics that work", like the + here.
    – Rodrigo
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 2:22

After reading all of the links provided and nearly deciding to change search engines - I came across the following:

Go to https://www.google.com/search?q=expresso

Click on "more search tools" if they are not already displayed. And, now, click "verbatim".

The sole problem is that there doesn't seem to be a way to make it stick - when you come back to Google, you'd have to reselect the option.

  • 1
    This was the only answer that worked for me. It really seems like Google treats all 3 of these equal "easing" +easing +"easing". When using any of those 3 terms it still erroneously returns results for 'ease', switching to verbatim mode returned only 'easing'. Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 19:09

I cannot tell you the amount of frustration I have experienced with Google messing up my searches. Therefore, I have just finished writing this opera plugin, in order to sanitize the output!

Beware, its from today and pretty much alpha:


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