The use of the * Asterisk Placeholder in finding the right Collocation

It’s time to start our #GooglingForTranslators English Series!


This series offers valuable hacks for translators to increase their ‘Feeling Lucky‘ translation results while boosting their googling skills (linguistically-wise).


A) The * Asterisk Operator: Helpful in “finding the right collocation” (For the Arabic Version of this Article Click here).




The * is used ‘to fill in the blank in search phrases’


– A Collocation is ‘the company that words keep’ (Related! Right?)


e.g. 1: – Write on google “* Accident” or “Accident *”


– Results in bold: Compulsory accident


– Report an accident


– Concerned in the accident etc.


PS: After updating the Google algorithms, it is better to use the * sign inside a long-quoted sentence/ phrase to receive better results.


Also, remember that you can use more than one * sign in a single search attempt but add a white-space after each of them.


Every * represents just one or more words as Google treats it as a placeholder for a word or more.


e.g. 2: – Write on google “* with the law”


– Results in bold: comply with the law


– in accordance with the law


– The court agreed with the law


– in conflict with the law …etc.


The * helps us also in finding the right proverbs, quotes & idioms + any Biblical and/or Quranic verses.


Even in finding headline variants for our marketing purposes; the * can be an asset to get a bunch of rewarding results.


e.g. 3: – Write on google “Helping you * * *” and the results in bold will be rewarding!!


Want more? Please stay tuned!

Shaimaa Riad

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