Collocations are a great idea really. No need to think too hard, and they make it so simple to become just another one of run of the mill. Some of the all time favourite collocations include ‘completely satisfied’, ‘excruciating pain’, ‘burst into tears’ and ‘vaguely remember’. Then there are the colourful such as ‘red Ferrari’, ‘a blue fit, and ‘green thumb.’

So no need to go into a list here. Well, not until I started reading people’s profiles on Twitter. I was ‘filled with horror’ to discover that literary folk such as writers and readers of ‘high brow fiction’ were falling into the very passé collocation trap.

After ‘rampantly collecting’ a hundred ‘avid readers’, I kept looking and of course stumble across thousands of ‘aspiring writers’ and a goodly number of ‘lifelong readers’. Then one of my favourites, ‘published author’ and a new one on me, ‘repped YA novelist’. I just love that one!

I got tired of ‘speculative fiction’ and ‘urban fantasy’ writers and instead concentrated on ‘wanna be authors’, ‘fledgling authors’, ‘single mom bloggers’ and ‘evolutionary thinkers’. Of course I was particularly interested in the ‘book lovers’, ‘book worms’, ‘bookaholics’ and ‘passionate readers’.

Anyway, enough research. But please hear my plea! Readers and writers, authors and bloggers, please use your imagination and skill and find something to describe yourself that isn’t a hackneyed collocation or even worse, a cliché.

So, please don’t turn a blind eye.

Habitual Collocations

6 thoughts on “Habitual Collocations

  • 03/05/2011 at 1:39 am

    Well. I'm afraid that calling myself "The English Teacher" isn't very original, but it's very appropriate; that's what I am. I do sometimes refer to myself as a "grammar guru." Is that any better? :)

    Thanks for joining up on my blog.

  • 03/05/2011 at 10:20 am

    Sounds like we are both peas from the same pedantic pod! English Teachers United!

  • 03/05/2011 at 11:39 am

    Yet on a medium like twitter, where brevity is a virtue, a well placed cliché can provide useful shorthand.
    In the last half hour I've had: "Aargh! Best laid plans!" – "delightful audience" "A Crutch to beat" – "peas from – – pod". Oh sorry, that one was yours.
    And collocations are inevitable. It's easy for even the most imaginative writer to become word weary as he stumbles across (rather than 'stumbles-across') our complex media landscape.

    No, I hate that last sentence too, but I'll let it stand as proof.

    I think I'll try to save my pedantry for verbal crimes I have myself committed. Oh yes, and any journalist who can write "should of" at any time, weary or not.
    But you've put me on my guard.

  • 03/05/2011 at 11:46 am

    Thanks Wilf. I agree with you, especially about 'should of'. Ouch! That would have me closing the page in an instant.

  • 03/05/2011 at 12:10 pm

    Ouch! What yonder catty utterence do I hear on the wind?

    Collocations are a fact of life Derek, whether we like them or not.

    Some are definitely cringworthy though I have to admit. :)

  • 03/05/2011 at 1:03 pm

    I prefer to go all the way Jack. Attack awful alliterations also! :)

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