I was reading the following which is part of a forum discussion by a French poster:
This is clearly more complicated to port, but the benefit can be very important,
It caught my attention as I am interested in the uses French speakers of English make of the word important (e.g. see here). Often they use it instead of an appropriate size adjective, so in this case the forum poster could have written – the benefit can be large.
However the construction was still sounding a little odd to me, so I used COCA to look at the collocates of the noun of the lemma benefit – [benefit].[n*]. A lemma is all forms of the word and is indicated by square brackets. The part of speech can be selected from the POS (part of speech) List drop down box. To use a POS like this, you need to append it with a dot (full stop) to the word you are looking at.
From the results of this search, the rank 6 collocate is potential. Of course! Duh! That’s why the benefit can be sounds odd, whereas potential benefits are would sound better.
Now you may be saying I did not need COCA to figure that out, sure I could have mulled it over the morning but COCA allowed me to get on with other trivial things than puzzling over this particular one. 🙂
That’s it for another quick cup of COCA. And if you haven’t already you can read some more quick cup of COCA posts.