Thursday, 10 November 2016

Lexical and grammatical collocations

A distinction may, if wished, be made between lexical collocations and grammatical collocations.

lexical collocation is a type of construction where a verb, noun, adjective or adverb forms a predictable connection with another word, as in:
  • adverb + adjective: completely satisfied (NOT downright satisfied)
  • adjective + noun: excruciating pain (NOT excruciating joy)
  • noun + verb: lions roar (NOT lions shout)
  • verb + noun: commit suicide (NOT undertake suicide)
grammatical collocation is a type of construction where for example a verb or adjective must be followed by a particular preposition, or a noun must be followed by a particular form of the verb, as in:
  • verb + preposition: depend on (NOT depend of)
  • adjective + preposition: afraid of (NOT afraid at)
  • noun + particular form of verb: strength to lift it (not strength lifting it)

Miscellaneous collocations:
TimeBusiness EnglishClassifiers
bang on time
dead on time
early 12th century
free time
from dawn till dusk
great deal of time
late 20th century
make time for
next few days
past few weeks
right on time
run out of time
save time
spare time
spend some time
take your time
tell someone the time
time goes by
time passes
waste time
annual turnover
bear in mind
break off negotiations
cease trading
chair a meeting
close a deal
close a meeting
come to the point
dismiss an offer
draw a conclusion
draw your attention to
launch a new product
lay off staff
go bankrupt
go into partnership
make a loss
make a profit
market forces
sales figures
take on staff
a ball of string

a bar of chocolate

a bottle of water

a bunch of carrots

a cube of sugar

a pack of cards

a pad of paper

Wednesday, 2 November 2016



1: 'As' can mean 'because/since'.
  • As it was raining, we didn't go out.
2: 'As' can mean 'while' or 'at the same time':
  • As I was walking down the street, I saw Jimmy.
3: We can use 'as' to talk about the way one thing is similar to another thing. In this case 'as' is a conjunction and needs to be followed by a subject and a verb or by a prepositional phrase. We invert the subject and the verb when using a formal register.
  • James loves pets, as do I.
4: We need to use 'as' with expressions like 'as much as' and by 'as +adjective +as'. This is also talking about similarity. These expressions can be followed by a subject and a verb or a noun or preposition.
  • John loves spicy food as much as I do.
  • Lily travels as much as me.
  • She's as clever as her sister is.
  • London's not as big as Mexico City.
5: 'As' can be used with a noun to show someone's position. This is especially common with jobs. In a similar way, 'as' can also be used to show something's function (what we are using it for). It must be followed by a noun.
  • She works as a teacher.
  • Don't use the knife as a screwdriver.
Watch out! You can't use 'like' for someone's real job. You need to use 'as'.
  • I work like a waitress.

1: 'Like' can be used to give examples. It means the same as 'for example' and is usually followed by nouns or pronouns.
  • Western European countries like France and Spain have high unemployment at the moment.
2: We can also use 'like' to talk about how one thing is similar to another thing. Here 'like' is a preposition and is followed by a noun or a pronoun.
  • John loves spicy food, like me.
  • Tokyo is a busy and exciting city, like London.
When we're talking about how things are similar, we often use 'like' with verbs such as 'look', 'sound' and 'smell'.
  • She looks like her mother.
  • It looks like rain.
  • That sounds like a car.
  • The kitchen smells like lemons.

'Like' vs 'as' for similarity

Often, we can use both 'as' and 'like' to talk about similarity.
  • I love coffee, like Julie.
  • I love coffee, as Julie does.
We need to follow 'as' with a clause (a subject and a verb). When we use 'as' for similarity, it's not followed by a noun or pronoun.
  • I love coffee, as Julie.
However, when we use 'as' to mean a role or job (it's followed by a noun in this case), then we can't use 'like'. Instead, 'like' is talking about similarity.
  • As your mother, I'm telling you not to go out now. (I am your mother and I am telling you this in my role as your mother.)
  • Like your mother, I'm telling you not to go out now. (I'm not your mother, but I am telling you the same thing as she is. I am acting in a similar way to your mother.)
Here's another example.
  • She works as the manager (= she is the manager).
  • She works like the manager (= she isn't the manager, but she works in a similar way to the manager).