Building your own corpus – binomials example

Note this entry may not mean much if you are new to AntConc, I will post more beginner type ones later, I wanted to take advantage of a well known ELT blogger’s post as a hook to this one!

This post shows how useful building your own corpus can be particularly for ESP purposes. Leo Selivan’s/@leoselivan latest describes how to teach binomials, be sure to check that out before proceeding. A great post but the examples he uses are from general English.

Using AntConc I can see what examples are relevant to my multi-media students.

The following screenshot show the results of the search /# and #/ in the Clusters/N-Grams tab of AntConc (# is the default wildcard for any one word):


Looking down to a frequency hit of 4 I get this list:

drag and drop
up and running
audio and video
latest and greatest
desktop and mobile
designers and developers
quickly and easily
sites and apps
tips and tricks
username and password
building and testing
download and install
tried and true
when and where

I also note that there are a number of ones using “new and …”:

new and different
new and evolving
new and exciting
new and improved
new and underused

There are also a number of others with a frequency hit of 3 or less e.g.:

backup and archiving
first and foremost
icons and logos
layout and design
panning and zooming
tips and tricks
faster and lighter
save and refresh
scissors and glue
leaps and bounds
looks and feels
new and shiny
pluses and minuses
pros and cons

Further I can easily use the concordance as example sentences e.g. for latest and greatest:


So this was a quick post to highlight how useful your own corpus can be. Stay tuned for related posts.

6 thoughts on “Building your own corpus – binomials example

  1. Great post. I don’t think there are enough blogs which get down to the nitty gritty of what we actually say / write and what we need to teach. So often we reduce it to a category such as binomials and then fall back on the ones we know from intuition (I have done it myself!). The ‘new and …’ is particularly good for general courses not just ESP and links well with similar “nice and … hot / cold / sunny etc.”

    By the way, we’re holding a day conference on May 11th on Lexical Teaching. I don’t suppose you would be interested in doing a talk – I have a couple of spaces left open for talks. Contact me on A dot Walkley at westminster dot ac dot uk if you are interested.

    1. wow thanks for comment and invitation. have sent u an email. also edited your comment to prevent email farming by any robots!

      i hope that any teachers reading these series of posts will be encouraged to start playing around with programs such as AntConc and see how useful they can be to customise and contextualise their teaching.

  2. Hi Mura,
    I discovered AntConc not so long ago at a course I’m taking on using corpus for academic writing. It’s a great tool! I’ve build my own academic corpus and now I’m exploring what’s out there.
    Thank you for giving me some ideas on what to search for.
    I really enjoy reading your blog!

Penny for your thoughts

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