I have frequently heard and seen (in instruction manuals) the word "possibilities" used a bit oddly by native speakers of German. It seems to be used where "options" or sometimes "features" is intended. For example:
"This new development left John with only two possibilities (meaning "options"): . . ." etc.
"This product has the following possibilities (meaning "features"):
• Greater capacity
• Faster speeds
• Longer life" etc.
Is there a better way to teach word choice in a situation like this other than simply providing a list of examples? Or is that the best way?
(Addressing American English only.)
Yes, the best way is through experience (which is not the same as giving examples). Experience lets the student relate the use of certain word/phrase with a meaning by themselves. I think reading in English is one of those experiences, and it should be encouraged by teachers. Collocation is an arbitraty thing, but our memory needs to relate it to a certain experience, otherwise it might not fix.