Similar to searching for phrases, proximity searching is a way to find two keywords in close proximity to each other.
If you want to find two keywords near each other, us n and specify a maximum number of spaces between the second keyword.
Example: toxic n5 cleanup yields results for toxic followed by cleanup within five words of each other.
"The state levied a fine on textile mills who dumped toxic waste to fund a cleanup". - This phrase WOULD be found in this proximity search; there are exactly four words between toxic and cleanup.
If you were researching toxic waste in rivers and an article stated, "Despite the years of toxic deposits in the river from textile mills, no substantial cleanup has taken place" - This phrase WOULD NOT be found in this proximity search; there are more than five words between toxic and cleanup.
If you want to find two keywords near each other in a certain order (i.e. the first keyword must precede the second keyword), us w and specify a maximum number of spaces between the second keyword.
Example: Franklin w2 Roosevelt yields results for Franklin Roosevelt within 2 words of each other. This would allow you to search for Franklin Roosevelt or Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
With both proximity operators, the higher the number (ex. w8), the less precise search you get. In other words, allowing too many word spaces might yield irrelevant results.