What is a "Stemming" Search?
Toggle the stemming feature on if you would like your search results to include words that are similar to, but have slightly different endings than, the word(s) you entered in the search bar. Stemming is often used to discover different adverb and verb-tenses or the plural version of the word(s) entered in the search bar.
For example, if you type “love” into the search bar and toggle stemming on, your search results will include passages which contain the words love, love’s, lovely, loving, loved, etc.
To conduct a stemming search in Concord:
- Enter the word(s) you would like to search for in the search bar.
- Click (or Tap for iPhone/mobile) on the words "Search Options" just below the search bar. This will open the new Search Options menu.
- Click or tap on the gray button across from the words "Stemming." You will know the stemming search option has been activated once the gray button has turned blue and the words "Stemming" appear in a blue box under the search bar.
- Click or tap on the magnifying glass next to the search bar to conduct the search.
- To disable the stemming search option, open the Search Options menu and click or tap on the blue toggle, to turn it back to gray.
- To remove all activated search options at once, click or tap on the blue “Reset” button in the bottom right-hand corner of the Search Options menu.
- To remove all activated search options at once and simultaneously clear the words in the search bar, click or tap on the X located on the right-hand side of the search bar.
An Example of when Stemming Search is Useful
Here's an example to better illustrate how the stemming feature works: Let’s do a search on the verb ‘create’ with no search options turned on. We find a modest number of results including the wonderful passage from Psalms 51:
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Let’s say that passage inspires us to search for other ways the word ‘create’ is used across the books. We could do this with a stemming search. Activate the Stemming option within the Search Options menu and click the magnifying glass next to the search bar to conduct your search. When you open the search results for any given book, this time, you will see a list of found words between the search bar and the search results (if there are more than 100 results within one book, you will need to open a specific chapter within that book to see the found words. Using stemming in this way will enable you to find a greater variety of passages all related to the same topic. If you want to narrow your search to focus on any of the found words, you can click one of the blue found words and Concord will run a search on only the selected word.
How is Stemming Different from a Wildcard Search Using an Asterisk * ?
If we compare stemming with a traditional * wildcard search in Concord, we will find quite a difference. For example, make sure stemming is deactivated and type ‘creat*’ into the search bar.
This time our found words lists for each book/chapter includes 16 unique words:
create, created, creates, createth, creating, creation, creation's, creations, creative, creativeness, creator, creator's, creators, creature, creature's, creatures
This is an exhaustive list of every word in the books which starts with creat... Therefore, we have significantly increased the number of citations in our search results. There are some helpful words, as createth, that were not in our stemming search. However, the wildcard search also includes words that we may not find relevant to our search topic, such as creatures.