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Tech-savvy people know that Google eliminates stop-words and uses stemming anyhow, although their algorithms for doing that aren't public, so ...

    lose weight
... is a lot more efficient to write than ...

    how can I lose weight
And while not yielding the same results, I think the first yields better results (in this case).

Then you start adding words for refinement ...

    lose weight safe
See a pattern? ... It's a lot like adding tags, instead of formulating real phrases.

But... the results for "lose weight" and "how to lose weight" are not the same. Nor are the results for "earthquake" vs "what is an earthquake". In both cases if I'm after the latter then it is the more verbose query that yields the better results.

stop words/phrase removal can't be done in a too simplistic manner. words like <how to> signify a different kind of intent. Also if stop words are always removed, queries like <who's who in america> wouldn't work properly.

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