Collocation dictionary online / Kollokationswörterbuch

The BBI Dictionary of English Word Combinations, by Benson, Benson and Ilson, 1997, ISBN 90 272 2166 9 (that’s the European paperback ISBN) is a superb book for anyone writing English, even native speakers. The first edition was called The BBI combinatory dictionary of English and appeared in 1986, filling a gap – when I learned to write serious German at university, I used to use the Duden Stilwörterbuch to find which verbs and prepositions went with which noun.

This book is also surprisingly reliable.

The first edition is available online (via Languagehat).

Languagehat has a quote from the introduction showing the kind of collocations that can be found. I will quote the new edition on damages:

bq. damages n. [“compensation”] 1. to award ~ (the court awarded ~) 2. to claim; sue for ~ 3. to pay; receive; recover ~ 4. compensatory; exemplary, punitive; nominal ~ 5. ~ for 6. in ~ (to award one thousand dollars in ~)

The book is surprisingly reliable – most dictionaries are not that reliable.

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