Is there a way to search Google for a Web page that has a specific word even not as part of a specific phrase?

For example: Let's say I want to search for license, and my search turns up many pages that have driver license. I'm not interested in pages that discuss only driver licenses: I want pages that discuss licenses generally (though they might discuss driver licenses also, so I don't want to exclude pages that have driver license). What I want, then, is pages that have license even not in the phrase driver license (though perhaps in it also). Is there a way to search Google for such Web pages?

I am open to other search engines that satisfy this need.

  • 1
    your problem doesn't look like a search criteria problem. II think google would be searching what you want. It looks like a sorting of results problem, so the generic results with only the word license would be at the bottom of search results, while those with driving license just happen to be at the top because most of the people might be searching for driving license. Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 6:46
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    Your intent is a bit vague. What kind of other licenses would you want the pages returned by Google to discuss beside driver licenses? Medical licenses? Veterinary licenses? Building permits? A license to kill? Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 7:48
  • @BrucevanderKooij, sure, any of those. That was just an example, anyway.
    – msh210
    Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 13:07
  • @OzairKafray, for some reason I never received notification of your comment, so only saw it now on geting notification of BrucevanderKooij's. I don't understand why you say this is not a search criterion problem. Is excluding words from search also not? Is including phrases also not?
    – msh210
    Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 13:08
  • @msh210: Excluding words and including words is a search criterion problem. But you want to search for 'licenses' without excluding or including anything. That's what you are doing and that's what google is doing for you. Its just that google is not sorting the results as you want. You want search results with "driver licenses" to not be at the top of your results. Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 7:42

2 Answers 2


I would go through http://www.google.com/advanced_search.

Put the words you want in all these words: and the words you don't want in none of these words:

Not sure if I'm completely answering you question, but there are a lot more options on the advanced search page for Google.

  • This doesn't answer my question. I tried to be clear; I guess that failed. I'll try to reword.
    – msh210
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 6:08

I want pages that discuss licenses generally

1) if you want to search to receive results including lincenses word, you can force the search like it "licenses" , using double quotes.

I don't want to exclude pages that have driver license

2) If you still want to include pages including driver license word, you can still use the step 1)

What I want is pages that have license outside of the longer string driver license

3) If you really want to force results outsides words driver license , you can exclude it by using -"driver license" minus sign and double quotes, then results show pages including the string driver license. So basically the search will be like "license" -"driver license". Or you can just force to exclude "driver" word only too.

Tip: Just use the steps above accordingly due to your needs. Hope this helps.

  • I asked not three questions but one, though I was repetitive in an effort to be clear. I guess that failed. I'll try to reword. In any event, this doesn't answer my question at all.
    – msh210
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 6:07

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