Can I use an OR in regex without capturing what's enclosed?

I'm using to build my regex, and their documentation describes the following:

(...)   Capture everything enclosed
(a|b)   a or b

How can I use an OR expression without capturing what's in it? For example, say I want to capture either "ac" or "bc". I can't use the regex


right? Since then I capture either "a" or "b" in one group and "c" in another, not the same. I know I can filter through the captured results, but that seems like more work...

Am I missing something obvious? I'm using this in Java, if that is pertinent.


  • Depending on the regular expression implementation you can use so called non-capturing groups with the syntax (?:…):


    Here (?:a|b) is a group but you cannot reference its match. So you can only reference the match of ((?:a|b)c) that is either ac or bc.