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Combinatory Dictionary English Your Guide

Speak and write perfect English!


BBI teaches you how to combine words with words to form phrases (so you can say “mortgaged to the hilt; I want something badly”).


BBI also teaches you how to combine words into structures to form clauses and sentences (so you can say “I want you to go = What I want is for you to go”).


So BBI helps you with both vocabulary and grammar.


BBI shows you important vocabulary and grammatical differences between American and British English.


BBI gives you plenty of examples that can serve as models for your own use of English.


Some of these examples are authentic quotations from works of American and British literature.


This Third Edition of the BBI Combinatory Dictionary of English is an expanded and updated version of the First Edition (1986) and its Revised Edition (1997), both of which were favorably received. In this third edition, the contents of the BBI have been increased by over 20%.


In the selection and presentation of new material, many sources have been used, including:


  • Internet searches;
  • The British National Corpus;
  • Reading and listening to English-language material;
  • For Grammatical Patterns: A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (Randolph Quirck et al.);
  • For Collocations: Lists of Lexical Functions (compiled by Igor Mel’cuk et al.).


The BBI has been “highly recommended” by the English-Speaking Union.