Regular expressions allow more specific queries then a simple query.

Examples

compan(y|ies) Search for company , companies
(peter|paul) Search for peter , paul
bug* Search for bug , bugs , bugfix
[Bb]ag Search for Bag , bag
b[aiueo]g Second letter is a vowel. Matches bag , bug , big
b.g Second letter is any letter. Matches also b&g
[a-zA-Z] Matches any one letter (not a number and a symbol)
[^0-9a-zA-Z] Matches any symbol (not a number or a letter)
[A-Z][A-Z]* Matches one or more uppercase letters
[0-9][0-9][0-9]-[0-9][0-9]-
[0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9]
US social security number, e.g. 123-45-6789

Here is stuff for our UNIX freaks:
(copied from 'man grep')

	  \c	A backslash (\) followed by any special character is  a
			 one-character  regular expression that matches the spe-
			 cial character itself.  The special characters are:

					+	 `.', `*', `[',  and  `\'  (period,  asterisk,
						  left  square  bracket, and backslash, respec-
						  tively), which  are  always  special,  except
						  when they appear within square brackets ([]).

					+	 `^' (caret or circumflex), which  is  special
						  at the beginning of an entire regular expres-
						  sion, or when it immediately follows the left
						  of a pair of square brackets ([]).

					+	 $ (currency symbol), which is special at  the
						  end of an entire regular expression.							  

	  .	 A `.' (period) is a  one-character  regular  expression
			 that matches any character except NEWLINE.
 
	  [string]
			 A non-empty string of  characters  enclosed  in  square
			 brackets  is  a  one-character  regular expression that
			 matches any one character in that string.  If, however,
			 the  first  character of the string is a `^' (a circum-
			 flex or caret), the  one-character  regular  expression
			 matches  any character except NEWLINE and the remaining
			 characters in the string.  The  `^'  has  this  special
			 meaning only if it occurs first in the string.  The `-'
			 (minus) may be used to indicate a range of  consecutive
			 ASCII  characters;  for example, [0-9] is equivalent to
			 [0123456789].  The `-' loses this special meaning if it
			 occurs  first (after an initial `^', if any) or last in
			 the string.  The `]' (right square  bracket)  does  not
			 terminate  such a string when it is the first character
			 within it (after an initial  `^',  if  any);  that  is,
			 []a-f]  matches either `]' (a right square bracket ) or
			 one of the letters a through  f  inclusive.	The  four
			 characters  `.', `*', `[', and `\' stand for themselves
			 within such a string of characters.

	  The following rules may be used to construct regular expres-
	  sions:

	  *	 A one-character regular expression followed by `*'  (an
			 asterisk)  is a regular expression that matches zero or
			 more occurrences of the one-character  regular  expres-
			 sion.	If  there  is  any choice, the longest leftmost
			 string that permits a match is chosen.

	  ^	 A circumflex or caret (^) at the beginning of an entire
			 regular  expression  constrains that regular expression
			 to match an initial segment of a line.

	  $	 A currency symbol ($) at the end of an  entire  regular
			 expression  constrains that regular expression to match
			 a final segment of a line.

	  *	 A  regular  expression  (not  just	a	one-
			 character regular expression) followed by `*'
			 (an asterisk) is a  regular  expression  that
			 matches  zero or more occurrences of the one-
			 character regular expression.	If  there  is
			 any  choice, the longest leftmost string that
			 permits a match is chosen.

	  +	 A regular expression followed by `+' (a  plus
			 sign)  is  a  regular expression that matches
			 one or more occurrences of the  one-character
			 regular  expression.  If there is any choice,
			 the longest leftmost string  that  permits  a
			 match is chosen.

	  ?	 A regular expression followed by `?' (a ques-
			 tion  mark)  is  a  regular  expression  that
			 matches zero or one occurrences of  the  one-
			 character  regular  expression.	If there is
			 any choice, the longest leftmost string  that
			 permits a match is chosen.

	  |	 Alternation:	 two	 regular	 expressions
			 separated  by  `|'  or NEWLINE match either a
			 match for  the  first  or  a  match  for  the
			 second.

	  ()	A regular expression enclosed in  parentheses
			 matches a match for the regular expression.

	  The order of precedence of operators at the same parenthesis
	  level  is  `[ ]'  (character  classes),  then  `*'  `+'  `?'
	  (closures),then  concatenation,  then  `|'  (alternation)and
	  NEWLINE.
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Topic revision: r1 - 18 Aug 2000 - PeterThoeny
 
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