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6.18: Why don't word-boundary searches with "\b" work for me?

(contributed by brian d foy)

Ensure that you know what \b really does: it's the boundary between a
word character, \w, and something that isn't a word character. That
thing that isn't a word character might be \W, but it can also be the
start or end of the string.

It's not (not!) the boundary between whitespace and non-whitespace, and
it's not the stuff between words we use to create sentences.

In regex speak, a word boundary (\b) is a "zero width assertion",
meaning that it doesn't represent a character in the string, but a
condition at a certain position.

For the regular expression, /\bPerl\b/, there has to be a word boundary
before the "P" and after the "l". As long as something other than a word
character precedes the "P" and succeeds the "l", the pattern will match.
These strings match /\bPerl\b/.

"Perl" # no word char before P or after l
"Perl " # same as previous (space is not a word char)
"'Perl'" # the ' char is not a word char
"Perl's" # no word char before P, non-word char after "l"

These strings do not match /\bPerl\b/.

"Perl_" # _ is a word char!
"Perler" # no word char before P, but one after l

You don't have to use \b to match words though. You can look for
non-word characters surrounded by word characters. These strings match
the pattern /\b'\b/.

"don't" # the ' char is surrounded by "n" and "t"
"qep'a'" # the ' char is surrounded by "p" and "a"

These strings do not match /\b'\b/.

"foo'" # there is no word char after non-word '

You can also use the complement of \b, \B, to specify that there should
not be a word boundary.

In the pattern /\Bam\B/, there must be a word character before the "a"
and after the "m". These patterns match /\Bam\B/:

"llama" # "am" surrounded by word chars
"Samuel" # same

These strings do not match /\Bam\B/

"Sam" # no word boundary before "a", but one after "m"
"I am Sam" # "am" surrounded by non-word chars


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