Collocation of English Words
To Pete and Rusty:
The obstacle in learning English is the word collocation. Grammar is important, and without grammar, English is not a complete language. Whether you agree or not, if we can build words together and make sense out of them, learning English will be pretty fun.
My suggestion is why don't we just create a thread of English word collocation! Whoever can post something they know and let Rusty or Pete, who are native born, confirm them whether they make sense or not. For instance, the word confidence. we get, gain confidence, win confidence, enjoy sb's confidence, inspire confidence in sb, to shake sb's confidence...and in each collocation, we explain in details. Pete and Rusty could provide a few collocations everyday.
The term "collocation" refers to the tendency of certain words to be most commonly used (sometimes only used) together with certain specific other words. Some words seem never to be used except in a single common idiomatic phrase. As you suggest, one of the difficulties of English is that if a word is commonly used together with only a few other words and you happen to use it in some other way, no matter how logical your phrase might be, it will sound unnatural as an English phrase.
Originally Posted by kenryuakuma
Unfortunately, I know of no reference source that tells of other words commonly collocated with a given word. In general, it is not easy to think up such a list. At least, my internal language generation system seems to begin with a thought that I want to express and then comes up with the way to say it. I can't start with a word and come up with an exhaustive list of other words that might be used with it. A Google search for a particular phrase is one way to get an idea of how common it might be. Looking at the example sentences in the Oxford English Dictionary (the unabridged version) is another, but that is not a free, on-line source.
About your specific suggestion -- It would certainly be fine for you and others to post suggested common collocations in this forum. Making them replies to this particular topic would work well. I'd suggest that you publish complete sentences instead of isolated phrases, and that you use the bracket-u bracket-slash-u codes to underline the words involved in the collocation (as: He gains more confidence with every game he plays.)
I'll certainly be glad to try to comment on whether the sentences sound natural, as I do with other sentences posted in this forum. I don't have time to take on a regular task of trying to think up lists myself. So far as I can tell, Rusty, I, and a number of other people who volunteer answers have enough trouble keeping up with questions that forum participants post.