There is a family of grammars called construction grammar that started perhaps in the 80s with the work of Fillmore & Kay among others. Examples of constructions include:

  1. the time + away construction (they danced the night away)
  2. the way construction (he glad handed his way into the club)
  3. the incredulity construction (Bush, a humanitarian!?)

I'm wondering if there is a dictionary or list of these constructions. I'm not looking for something exhaustive, but fairly extensive. Various online searches have turned up only a Japanese dictionary The Taishukan Contemporary Dictionary of English Constructions, but judging from the Japanese title 〈最新〉英語構文事典, I would say it's unlikely to be what I'm after.

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    Constructions of the kind Fillmore and Kay talk about don't lend themselves to a dictionary approach, since each one has complex syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic affordances that require more than a list to explicate. Another example is the paper by Fillmore, Kay, and O'Connor on the let alone construction. But in many ways what you want is Framenet, which is organized around the frames (cultural, pragmatic, interactional, semantic) that these constructions are used in. – John Lawler Aug 30 '14 at 17:00
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is a request for resources – FumbleFingers Aug 30 '14 at 17:13
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    There's also the list of syntactic rules (most of which create constructions) from Haj Ross, and the list of verb classes involved in governed cyclic alternations from Levin. – John Lawler Aug 30 '14 at 18:59
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    That's true, it is colloquial. That is, it's real English. Colloquial English means English as it's spoken, which is the real language. What's sometimes called "formal English" is simply stuffy, an attempt to talk like our betters. – John Lawler Oct 17 '14 at 1:03
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    In context, there's nothing wrong with Formal English. People who insist (or pretend to insist) that anything else is "wrong" or "improper", and that it should be used in all circumstances have no understanding of how language works. – Colin Fine Dec 23 '14 at 18:36

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