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ALL ABOUT SEMANTICS


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SEMANTICS
UTTERANCES SENTENCES AND PROPOSITIONS
PARTS OF SPEECH
SPEAKER MEANING AND SENTENCE MEANING
COMPONENTS OF LANGUAGE
LINGUISTICS
COLLOCATIONS, FIXED EXPRESSIONS AND IDIOMS
AMBIGUITY
METAPHOR, SIMILE, SYMBOL
POLYSEMY AND HOMONYMY
HOMOPHONES AND HOMOGRAPHS
SYNONYMS ANTONYMS AND HYPONYMS
SEMANTICS CHANGE AND ETHIMOLOGY
IDIOMS (CONVENTIONAL TYPES)
IDIOMS
PROVERBS
CONVERSATIONAL RESPONSES

COLLOCATIONS

What is a collocation?

A collocation is two or more words that often go together. These combinations just sound "right"
to native English speakers, who use them all the time. On the other hand, other combinations
may be unnatural and just sound "wrong". Look at these examples:

Natural English...Unnatural English...the fast train


fast foodthe quick train
quick fooda quick shower
a quick meala fast shower
a fast mealWhy learn collocations?
Your language will be more natural and more easily understood.
You will have alternative and richer ways of expressing yourself.
It is easier for our brains to remember and use language in chunks or blocks rather than as
single words.
How to learn collocations
Be aware of collocations, and try to recognize them when you see or hear them.
Treat collocations as single blocks of language. Think of them as individual blocks or
chunks, and learn strongly support, not strongly + support.
When you learn a new word, write down other words that collocate with it (remember
rightly,remember distinctly, remember vaguely, remember vividly).
Read as much as possible. Reading is an excellent way to learn vocabulary and
collocations in context and naturally.
Revise what you learn regularly. Practise using new collocations in context as soon as
possible after learning them.
Learn collocations in groups that work for you. You could learn them by topic (time,
number, weather, money, family) or by a particular word (take action, take a chance, take an
exam).
You can find information on collocations in any good learner's dictionary. And you can
also find specialized dictionaries of collocations.
Types of CollocationThere are several different types of collocation made from combinations of
verb, noun, adjective etc. Some of the most common types are:

Adverb + Adjective: completely satisfied (NOT downright satisfied)


Adjective + Noun: excruciating pain (NOT excruciating joy)
Noun + Noun: a surge of anger (NOT a rush of anger)
Noun + Verb: lions roar (NOT lions shout)
Verb + Noun: commit suicide (NOT undertake suicide)
Verb + Expression With Preposition: burst into tears (NOT blow up in tears)
Verb + Adverb: wave frantically (NOT wave feverishly)

FIXED EXPRESSIONS

To children, non-native English speakers, and anyone who confronts a fixed expression for the
first time, they can be baffling. A fixed expression is a little like a secret code that allows access
to a club that not everyone can enter. Its a phrase that has a very specific meaning that cant be
expressed any other way and also cant be deduced just by considering the sum of its parts. Some
fixed expressions, like ready, aim, fire are used so often that the opportunity to turn them into a
joke creates another fixed expression. Others, such as before you know it or to tell you the
truth have been around for so long that they function almost as a single word.

Unlike idioms, fixed expressions typically offer neither folk wisdom nor an image. Two heads
are better than one creates a bizarre, yet effective, visual idea of one body that operates with two
heads, while the idioms meaning is that two people working on a problem have a better chance
of solving it than just a single thinker. Fixed expressions are more often a collection of words
with individual meaning that really have nothing to do with one another.

All of a sudden is a perfect example. All means a totality, a location or moment in time in
which everything is included. Of a is really just a grammatical phrase with no internal meaning
of its own. Sudden refers to something completely unexpected; it is only the final word in this
expression that contributes meaning to the fixed expression, which is simply another way of
saying suddenly.

For example:

To be in no mood for jokes. To not be so important.


To top it all off.
Just so you know.
Therefore, for that reason.
For the first time.
On the other hand
Just in case.
Of course.
Apparently.
At least.

IDIOMS

An idiom is a phrase where the words together have a meaning that is different from the
dictionary definitions of the individual words, which can make idioms hard for ESL students and
learners to understand. Here, we provide a dictionary of 3,782 English idiomatic expressions
with definitions.

For example:
Fight like Kilkenny cats
Jump off the page
Like collecting frogs in a bucket
Leading edge
when the pigs fly!
Not for nothing
Bleed dry
Let the dust settle
Take root
It takes all kinds to make a world
Bring home
Brush with death