Dictionary of Combinations
The dictionary of combinations gives all the most significant lexical combinations of the headword, grouped by syntactic context, the strength of the combination and, if applicable, the various meanings of the headword. In its first version, this dictionary includes 700,000 combinations in all, with 700,000 actual sentences exemplifying their uses.
Significant lexical combinations are made up of two or more words (the base and the co-occurrent words) with a strong, frequent and spontaneous association in the language. How, for instance, can one describe a bright light? It may be a flashing light, blinding light, clear light, brilliant light, and so on. The dictionary of combinations gives you an exhaustive list of the statistically strongest associations, in all the relevant syntactic contexts.
List of combinations
The headword’s combinations are shown in a vertical list. In some cases, longer sub-combinations, such as grey morning light in the above figure, are grouped under a combination they contain, in this case morning light. You can select a specific combination and then use the Replace button to insert it in your text. When a particular determiner or preposition is part of a combination (light of day, light from the sun), it means that that function word is significantly frequent in that particular context. You can scroll through the combinations using the vertical keyboard arrows and show sub-combinations using the horizontal arrows.
If a combination belongs to an informal register, a usage label (e.g.: INFORMAL, OFFENSIVE) is shown to its right. If a usage label applies to all combinations in a given sense, it is not repeated next to each combination; instead, it is shown next to the heading that indicates the sense.
Strength of combinations
A blue bar opposite each combination shows its relative statistical strength: the longer the bar, the stronger the combination in comparison with the other combinations in the same context. The strength depends on a combination’s frequency, but also on the uniqueness of the association between the terms.
Combinations are grouped by syntactic context: With adjective, With noun adjunct, With possessive and so on; the number and nature of the contexts depend on the category of the headword. To allow an overall view of all the contexts, only the first five combinations for each context are displayed. You can see the others by clicking on the shaded and x others, if applicable. You can expand or shrink each context using its hide/show triangle. The number of combinations for each context is shown in parentheses after the name of the context.
When a word has several meanings, its combinations are grouped by meaning. In this case, the meanings are displayed in green, accompanied by a hide/show triangle.
Combinations are sorted according to their strength by default. You can also sort them in alphabetical order of the first word in each combination by clicking on the title bar.
The hide/show triangle lets you expand or shrink all the meanings or contexts at once, as applicable.
Examples and definitions
Selecting a combination gives you access, in the right-hand panel, to examples of combination in real texts (with the Examples button, at the bottom) or to the definition (with the Definitions button, at the bottom). In each example, the words in the combination are highlighted. Each example is accompanied by the name of the author and title of the source, if applicable, as well as a link to the source corpus, in blue. This hyperlink lets you open the website of the corpus in your browser with one click.
At the bottom of the list of examples is the Web search link, which lets you search for the words in the combination in Google, if you wish to search in more detail.
List of sources
At the bottom of the list of examples, the List of sources displays the source texts used in creating the list of combinations and their examples.
The text filter lets you display only the combinations containing the character string you enter in the filter field.
Click on the Options… button to filter the list of combinations based on their value (positive or negative) or meaning (strong or weak). By focusing the search, the filters help you choose the combinations that are most likely to meet your criteria. Click on the X to close the thematic filters and return to the full list.