Proximity Operators

Proximity operators specify the relative location of specific words in the document; that is, specified words must be in the same phrase, paragraph, or sentence for a document to be retrieved. In the case of the NEAR and NEAR/N operators, retrieved documents are relevance-ranked based on the proximity of the specified words. When proximity operators are nested, the ones with the broadest scope should be used first; that is, phrases or individual words can appear within SENTENCE or PARAGRAPH operators, and SENTENCE operators can appear within PARAGRAPH operators. The following table describes each proximity operator.

Table 8-2: Proximity Operators

Operator Name



Selects documents that contain specified values in one or more document zones. A document zone represents a region of a document, such as the document’s summary, date, or body text.


Selects documents that include a phrase you specify. A phrase is a grouping of two or more words that occur in a specific order.


Selects documents that include all of the words you specify within a sentence.


Selects documents that include all of the search elements you specify within a paragraph.


Selects documents containing specified search terms within close proximity to each other.


Selects documents containing two or more words within N number of words of each other, where N is an integer.