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  1. suprunp's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Ukrainian
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      • Ukraine
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      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Apr 2011
    • Posts: 599


    Wandering through this web-site I discovered a new means that will surely help me in studying English, namely CORPORA. Almost immediately a new question arose:

    In case I can't find some expressions there does it automatically mean that I should dismiss them as inappropriate, inadequate and as those, that can't be viewed as "native"?

    For example
    "I'm in search of..." is acceptable, but what if I said "I'm in discovery of...".
    "My life is of great importance." is acceptable, but what if I said "My life is of great stability.".


  2. 5jj's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • British English
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      • England
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      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134


    Both the sentences you could not find are unnatural/unacceptable.

    If you can't find something in the corpora, it is likely to be rare, but that is not proof that it is unacceptable. COCA and BNC contain between them 500 million words. This sounds a lot, but David Crystal estimates that there are 330 million people in the world who speak English as their first language. If each of these people were to speak only a thousand words a day (this post contains 136 words), that would mean that 330,000,000,000 words of English were spoken every day - not to mention all the words written. Many possible utterances will probably not appear in the corpora.

    However, if you can't find something, it's probably a good idea not to use it until you have confirmed it with a native speaker.

    Crystal, David (2003) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, 2nd edition, Cambridge: CUP.

  3. konungursvia's Avatar
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      • Canada
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    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 5,158


    I agree with Five, but would say this: if it's not in British or American corpora, you can consider yourself well advised to find another way of saying it.

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