Use of Regular Expressions for Wildcards Search in Microsoft Word, and the Layout of MCINTOSHFORMS™

Important notice about the use of regular expressions for wildcards search in Microsoft Word

First, always save your Microsoft (MS) Word document before you perform a wildcard search. In the Find and Replace dialog that appears after you click the Advanced Find button, you may click the Reading Highlight button and then click Highlight All after entering your criterion in the Find what field. However, some regular expressions (regexes) may cause the application not to respond. If this happens, reopen the document and use the Find Next button to move through the document.


Within an MS Word document, MCINTOSHFORMS™ use regexes, and grammatical forms (whole words or linguistic units, such as morphemes, phonemes, etc.) and orthography to isolate morphological structures, syntactic structures and orthographic structures (i.e., hyphenation that forms compound words, and punctuation that divide text into sentences, clauses, etc.).

MCINTOSHFORMS™ are presented as the sum total of the information and instructions provided to execute each constituent/grammatical search. As a result, you can then analyze/review a grammatical form, a grammatical function or a grammatical constituent to identify and/or address any errors or ambiguities.

The layout of MCINTOSHFORMS™

Syntactic search parameter

Type of search: Text or regex

MS Word use/instructions for the type of search:

Search items: A list of items to use in a text or regex search to establish the search parameter

Regexes are differentiated from the rest of the text by this special formatting.

Important note about the difference between a text search and a regex search in MS Word

As MCINTOSHFORMS™ employs regexes or grammatical forms (word forms) and orthography (punctuation marks), a constituent search may be based on either a regex search parameter or a text search parameter, respectively.

  • With a text search, you may or may not have to select any of the available Search Options.
  • With a regex search, you must select Use wildcard under Search Options for the search to be executed.


  • Item in square brackets [ITEM] indicate a Search item with which to overwrite the entire [ITEM] placeholder including the square brackets.
  • Linguistic units such as morphemes, phonemes, etc., in parentheses ( ) are optional.
  • Underscore (_) means a space.

Frequently used terms and their equivalent meanings

  • Grammatical form: parts of speech (“what a word, phrase, or clause looks like”)
  • Grammatical function: role (“what a word, phrase, or clause does”)
  • Syntactic function: grammatical relationship (the position/arrangement of the words)
  • Syntactic role: grammatical relation


MCINTOSHFORMS™ Copyright © by Garie Garvin McIntosh. All Rights Reserved.

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