What is a phrase?

The following is a recent exchange at The Linguist Forum on English.

what are important phrases!!
Posted: Feb 3, 2005 8:01 AM
Dear sir:

I have read each and every article of the linguist site recently.

I have also read free newsletters of the linguist system that I receive from time time via email service.

In the latest newsletter – Steve K emphasized on the importance of enhancing vocabulary level in order to pass standarized tests like TOEFL. He keeps emphasizing on “learning important phrases” and “collocations”. But who will decide what important phrases are important to learn and what are not. Just emphasizing is not gonna help.

I wanna know a complete list where those important phrases are listed. If there is such a list available on the net, do let me know.

I wanna improve my vocab level desperately and start working on it soon.

Your co-operation will be highly appreciated.



Message was edited by: asad1000


Posts: 45
Registered: Sep 24, 2004

Re: what are important phrases!!
Posted: Feb 3, 2005 8:21 AM

Welcome. You write English well. You are using a lot of natural phrases. If you had submitted your email to The Linguist for correction we would have made a few corrections. For example you should say “Steve emphasized the importance” without the word “on”. So “emphasized the importance” becomes a phrase for you to learn.

As I say in the “About the Linguist” articles in our Library, a phrase is any combination of 2-5 words. The number of potential phrases is limitless. It is up to each learner to become observant of English and to select those phrases that he or she wants to learn. It may be phrases that you do not understand, or that you like, or that contain prepositions or other words that you have trouble with. You select the phrases, save them into your database, learn them, start to notice them more and pretty soon you are using them in your speech, making your speech more natural. This is a better alternative than trying to learn all the possible rules for the use of prepositions for example.

By the way I am not a fan of learners using “gonna” “wanna” etc. But then I sense you are already a very advanced speaker of English or perhaps even a teacher.


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