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Verb Collocations

All language can be viewed as a matter of collocations.

English has many examples of very strong idiomatic collocations: e.g. black and white is a idiomatic binomial; the word order is fixed.

The phrase at the end of the day is an idiomatic collocational combination of at + the + end + of + the + X; where X can be varied somewhat e.g. week / month / year / film / party etc.

Under the collocation view of verbs, the 'present continuous' is a collocation of 'be + do-ing form' e.g. It is raining. There is no need for the present continuous label - just the understanding that be can collocate with a Do-ing Form and the meaning of the two words contribute to the understanding of the collocation. The word order of the verb collocation is idiomatic: we can't say 'It raining is.'

There is a set collocational order of verbs or pathway.

 
Verb Collocations

The pathway is:

[Modal] + Do Form/Did Form+ been + Do-ing Form + Done Form + to + more verbs.

Start Here:

You can choose to start at the modal verb and then you have to use a Do Form e.g. be/have/do/eat etc.

Or you can start with a Do Form e.g. is/are/have/has/do/eat etc.

Or start with a Did Form e.g. was/were/had/did/ate etc.

By choosing to use (or omit) verbs in the possible sequence and following the set order and a couple of collocational rules (e.g. be cannot collocate with been) all the possible verb combinations can be produced.

From: I like you.

[Modal] + Do Form [Did Form] + been + Do-ing Form + Done Form + to + more verbs.

To: I want to leave soon.

[Modal] + Do Form [Did Form] + been + Do-ing Form + Done Form + to + Do Form.

To: I might go.

[Modal] + Do Form [Did Form] + been + Do-ing Form + Done Form + to + more verbs.

To: I left early.

[Modal] + Do Form [Did Form] + been + Do-ing Form + Done Form + to + more verbs.

To: It is raining.

[Modal] + Do Form [Did Form] + been + Do-ing Form + Done Form + to + more verbs.

To: I was thinking of going soon.

[Modal] + Do Form [Did Form] + been + Do-ing Form + Done Form + to + more verbs.

To: I have been to London.

[Modal] + Do Form [Did Form] + been + Do-ing Form + Done Form + to + more verbs.

To: I have been thinking of you.

[Modal] + Do Form [Did Form] + been + Do-ing Form + Done Form + to + more verbs.

To: I have been followed.

[Modal] + Do Form [Did Form] + been + Do-ing Form + Done Form + to + more verbs.

To: I have been being followed.

[Modal] + Do Form [Did Form] + been + Do-ing Form + Done Form + to + more verbs.

To: I might have been being followed.

[Modal] + Do Form [Did Form] + been + Do-ing Form + Done Form + to + more verbs.

The possible collocational order is idiomatic.

Verbs are selected (or not selected) to construct the necessary meaning idea of the verb combination.

With these English Verb Collocation Cards you can explore all the possible combinations of verbs in the English verb pathway. The 100 cards include pronouns, articles, some prepositions, adjectives and nouns to help you make meaningful examples sentences for your learners.

For more information about this view of language and verbs please see The Ideas of English Grammar, an exploration of English grammar which identifies the grammar a teacher really needs to teach and the grammar a learner needs to learn.

The Ideas of English Grammar is available from Amazon.