Collocation refers to the appearance or occurrence of groups or pairs of words, particularly when more frequent than random chance would suggest.

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2
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2answers
98 views

Why can you not “improve your English ability”?

I hear a lot of Japanese people say "I want to improve my English ability" but I can't explain why this sentence is wrong. Could anyone tell me why you shouldn't say "I want to improve my English ...
0
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1answer
23 views

Receive a prize in/on/for a contest

What is the proper way to say that someone received a prize / achieved a certain rank as a result of his participation in a contest or competition? I would also like a brief explanation, if it's more ...
3
votes
3answers
13k views

“In the market” or “on the market”

I am trying to help a friend of mine proofreading an English email and she has a preposition there that I am not completely certain is correct. The original sentence was this: [Name of the ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

“Finnish Swedes” or “Swedish Finns”?

In Finland, there live 5.6 % Swedes (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/fi.html). They have lived there for many generations, being standard Finnish citizens, just ...
0
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1answer
87 views

Qualifying a profile

Which of these adjectives is better used to qualify a profile (the width of an elongated object, such as in crossing profile)? low or small large or high Low crossing profile seems more common ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

“Habitat selection in/of birds”, “concept in/of statistics”, “theme in/of evolution”

It seems to me that in and of work equally well in sentences such as these: Habitat selection in birds is frequently studied. Habitat selection of birds is frequently studied. ...
1
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0answers
31 views

“live on government aid” or “live off government aid”? [duplicate]

Is there a difference in meaning between "live on government aid" and "live off government aid"? Are both correct written forms?
2
votes
1answer
53 views

Usage: “Having children by/from different fathers”?

In the phrase having children by/from different fathers, is by British usage, and from American usage? The collocation with by, I could find in the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, but the ...
4
votes
2answers
73 views

Does “trial” collocate with the verbs “win” and “lose”: can you “win/lose a trial”?

I know that "case" collocates with the verbs "win" and "lose". But do these verbs also collocate with the noun "trial"? Are the phrases "win/lose a trial" and "win/lose a case" synonyms?
1
vote
1answer
43 views

Inanimate nouns used in the phrase “want/need somebody to do”

I don't need [this document ] to contain a disclaimer formulated in such a straightforward way. I want [my words or my assertion] to sound convincing in the meeting tomorrow. Having done a ...
0
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4answers
3k views

Does “freak somebody out” has the meaning of “make somebody angry”?

This is an excerpt from the LDOCE. freak out phrasal verb informal to become very anxious, upset, or afraid, or make someone very anxious, upset, or afraid : People just freaked out when they ...
2
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2answers
146 views

How exactly is “to checkmate” used as a verb?

Merriam-Webster has this definition of checkmate: checkmate transitive verb 1: to arrest, thwart, or counter completely 2: to check (a chess opponent's king) so that escape is impossible ...
4
votes
1answer
111 views

“Check that mate” : OED on usage of 'checkmate'

In a recent post How exactly is “to checkmate” used as a verb?, the answer given by @WS2 listed some OED examples of metaphorical usage of 'to checkmate'. Among them: [1649 A. Ascham Bounds ...
2
votes
2answers
8k views

“Nervous” vs. “anxious”

Are these words interchangeable? When would you use one over the other? For example, is it correct to say you "feel nervous" or "feel anxious"? Is it correct to say you are an "anxious person" or a ...
0
votes
3answers
110 views

“Feasible”, “possible” or “potential” solution

I am trying to understand the difference, if any, between feasible, possible and potential. Most online dictionaries report them as synonyms. Is this right? More specifically, I want to use these ...
1
vote
4answers
10k views

“Cool water” vs. “cold water” [closed]

We often use "cool water". But can we use "cool water" or "cold water"? Which is correct? Examples: I drink cool water only. People always like cool water. In the above examples, ...
3
votes
4answers
641 views

If I can “fall in” love, can I “fall in” depression?

In Italian we say essere innamorato (to be in love) whereas the English idiom, to fall in love, expresses the idea of abandonment, of letting oneself go. mi sono innamorato = I am in love, and ...
2
votes
1answer
129 views

“it took quite a lot of courage to..” What is the collocation?

I need some help! I've found this sentence in my CAE book. There was a word missing, I wrote "took". My answer was correct. In my opinion John needed a lot of courage to sing that time. However, the ...
1
vote
1answer
81 views

How to say “in the strict … of the term”?

I am not quite sure if the following expression makes sense in English: in the strict meaning of the term Is it right? Should the word meaning be replaced by sense? The meaning of the phrase ...
0
votes
2answers
81 views

collocation with over, down, out [duplicate]

I'm completely confused when it comes to the combinations with over | down | out: Thank you for coming over | Thank you for coming down | Thank you for coming out. Come over here | Come ...
-1
votes
6answers
93 views

What is the verb used with 'repentance' when the subject is God responding to someones repentance? [closed]

A person repents to God. Then God responds to their prayer and (v) their repentance. What verb goes here? What is the correct collocation? The only examples I can find on the internet are : 'I was ...
5
votes
2answers
163 views

“Please be considerate of…” vs. “please be considerate to…”

We have a sign on a door at work which slams when people aren't careful. It originally read: Please be considerate of those here and close this door quietly. Someone crossed out the of and ...
15
votes
5answers
138k views

What is the difference between “sardonic” and “sarcastic”?

Basically, sardonic and sarcastic both stand for mocking gestures, but what is the difference in their contextual use? Are there any other words that represent a similar gesture?
3
votes
3answers
170 views

“Attendant with” vs. “attendant to” vs. “attendant of”

Can the adjective attendant be used with the prepositions with, to, or of, and, if so, which is preferable? For example, I could say, "This manual describes the operation of the product and its ...
0
votes
2answers
88 views

What's the difference between 'there are two parts of it' and 'there are two parts to it'?

My student asked me the above question and I'm not quite sure what the correct answer is. Any advice would be hugely appreciated.
6
votes
12answers
1k views

What vivid verb should I use when someone “turns into” a zombie?

In conversation, when someone says they appreciate my brain, I need an effective comeback. I was going to say: "I hope that you are not turning into a zombie with your love for my brain." But I ...
0
votes
3answers
158 views

Connotation of the phrase “bidding big”

Is it correct to say that a bid is "big"? What connotations does the phrase bidding big come to the average native speaker's mind? Is the phrase, "bidding big" positive or negative? Is it daring or ...
0
votes
2answers
102 views

Irradiate, illuminate and shine to mean “throw light”

All the three words are used to mean "throw light" in a document explaining principles of a barcode reader which I am checking. They are all used in sentences to explain "Throw LED to barcode". I ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Is “with respect to” wrong?

My English professor suggested yesterday that the expression "with respect to", despite being frequently used is simply wrong. He said that one should rather use "in respect of", which in turn is not ...
1
vote
1answer
174 views

What is the most common collocation to describe the seven trumpets blown in Revelation?

Revelation 8:1-2 (of the Bible) says the following (KJV): And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which ...
0
votes
0answers
25 views

Is a value something to “indicate” the valued thing?

Sorry for the confusing title. I came across the below sentence, and am wondering if the word "indicate" collocates with the word "value" as in this case: The PCS (Print Contrast Signal) is a ...
1
vote
1answer
181 views

“In my career as” — is “as” correct here?

I have this fragment: ... the experience and knowledge gained will be helpful in my career as a neuropathologist. Is the "as" here okay? It somehow does not sound right to me. Obviously I want ...
1
vote
2answers
51 views

Can “probability” be used interchangeably with “rate”?

In a document about a barcode reader, I came across an expression "scanning probability" to indicate the percentage of successful reading of barcodes by the barcode reader in question. I would use ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

“A teaching assistant in/of/for Applied Quantitative Methods”

I am a Teaching Assistant in/of/for Applied Quantitative Methods Which preposition is correct this context? And why?
3
votes
4answers
2k views

“To be assigned to” usage question

Many years ago I translated a document and wrote "he was assigned to an operation" (context: hospital operation, the assignee is undergoing one). An English professor who volunteered to copyedit my ...
0
votes
1answer
507 views

What does “putting your head into my mouth” mean?

The following passage is from the novel Ivanhoe by Walter Scott. "By St Dunstan," answered Gurth, "thou speakest but sad truths; little is left to us but the air we breathe, and that appears to ...
2
votes
1answer
80 views

“What X is this?” vs. “What's this X?”

What's the difference between "What color is this?" and "What's this color?". If someone is asking a kid, which one is more appropriate? Should he use "Which" instead of "What"?
5
votes
4answers
33k views

“Elder brother” or “older brother”?

I've read both forms in newspapers and online news: elder brother and older brother. What's the difference between them? When should I use which?
2
votes
3answers
1k views

“Brunette” vs. “brown” and “blonde” vs. “yellow”

Why is that we never use these terms interchangeably? I.e. one wouldn't say "I've painted my walls a deep brunette". Why is it that "brunette" and "blonde" are used exclusively in reference to hair ...
4
votes
4answers
447 views

Verb used with “threshold”

I am wondering what verb collocates with threshold. I can think of verbs such as surpass, cross, pass, but I am not sure if they are correct to use here. The threshold I am referring to is not a ...
0
votes
1answer
158 views

“The accomplishments we achieve will allow us to grow as individuals.” Is this correct?

I do not think the verb "achieve" collocates with "accomplishment" as it seems redundant. Any alternative verb suggestion would be welcome.
0
votes
2answers
241 views

Does one say “subscribe to insurance” or is “enroll” or “buy” a more fitting verb?

This is for use in an apartment lease. The lease is translated from Japanese for reference only for expats living in Japan, and will not be legally binding. "The Second Party shall, for the duration ...
5
votes
1answer
12k views

“No point in” vs. “no point of” vs. “no point to”

Point in, point of, point to. (Point in the sense of "purpose".) What are the differences among these — in meaning? in usage (each is used in certain constructions or with certain ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

What does a door do on its hinge?

In general sense of the language we would say that a door "opens" or "closes". But I am looking for a one-word answer (preferably) that would indicate its motion around the hinge. Does it swivel, ...
6
votes
5answers
4k views

“desert island” versus “deserted island”

What is the difference between "a desert island" and "a deserted island"? Are they synonyms?
2
votes
5answers
16k views

”Demand in/on/for something”

I am not sure whether to use in, on, or for after the word demand in the following sentence: The continuing demand on high-quality software that is reusable and easy to maintain and modify after ...
4
votes
2answers
881 views

“Prices of” vs “prices for”

I came across two different sentences, from The Wall Street Journal, both containing the word "prices" but with different prepositions, "of" and "for". Here are the two sentences. Audi Cuts ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Is there a difference between “depressive” and “depressing”?

Is news depressing or depressive? In what situations would you use these two words? According to dicionary.com: depressive - tending to depress depressing - serving to depress; inducing a ...
0
votes
2answers
160 views

Can the verb 'judge' collocate with 'of'? [closed]

I saw this sentence in an essay: Children’s cognitive development is on the preoperational stage, so they cannot consider as logical and judge of dangerous events. I would say "judge sth" or ...
2
votes
2answers
676 views

Do I take a small nap or a light nap?

I heard a friends say that he's going to take a small nap. Is this correct usage? I thought we only take light naps.