But for the life of me, I cannot understand what the java.util.regex.Pattern flag COMMENTS does. I have read the Javadoc and played around and cannot understand it. I asked a few work colleagues who also do not get it. Anyone out there have a concrete and meaningful explanation?

For the record I want to match words with arbitrary number of whitespace between them. I thought I could use the flag to write the regular expression SELECT FROM TABLE instead of SELECT\\s+FROM\\s+TABLE. And yes, I have tried this. :-)