What search query will return conversations that have the label Reading but not the label Ignore?

I've tried using label:reading -label:ignore but Gmail still returns conversations that have the label Ignore:

label:reading -label:ignore

The query label:(reading -ignore) gives me the same results.

  • I think part of the problem is that labels are applied to individual messages, but are shown with conversations. I see in your screen shot that where this is failing is in conversations with more than one message. I expect that if you just did a search for label:reading many more messages would come back. – ale Jan 4 '14 at 2:45

I've seen the same thing happening on my account, many times with different queries. I consider it to be a bug in Gmail, and there's nothing we can do about it unfortunately.


Gmail labels are applied per message, not per thread. If any messages in a thread don't have the excluded label applied, then the thread will still show up in your search.

If you turn off "conversation mode" in your Gmail settings, then threads will not be grouped together, and then you should see the expected results.


Your syntax appears to be correct. No spaces and includes colons.

This approach works fine for me in straight GMail.

When you search label:Reading label:Ignore do all/more messages returned have both tags? They should. What happens when you add a minus sign in front of either? Your results should change.

Unless there is something going on with those two threads, you should be seeing the results you desire.

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