You can use special characters within a regular expression to cause the regular expression to match more than one string. A regular expression that includes a special character always matches the longest possible string, starting as far toward the beginning (left) of the line as possible.
A period ( . ) matches any character (Table A-2).
|/.alk/||All strings consisting of a SPACE followed by any character followed by alk||will talk, may balk|
|/.ing/||All strings consisting of any character preceding ing||sing song, ping, before inglenook|