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    #1

    Is this natural?

    Hi, my dear teachers, your help is appreciated here.
    Let the children play in the woods; they will come to no_______.
    A. harm B. danger
    The better answer is A. I know come to no harm is an idiom that means sth does no harm to sb. But how about the answer B. In my understanding, come to no danger can mean sth causes no danger to sb. Is my understanding right? And is come to no danger a natural expression?
    Thanks! I am right in China waiting for your answer.

  1. Bennevis's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Is this natural?

    "come to no danger" seems to be OK.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Is this natural?

    In the context given it has to be 'come to no harm'. You can 'fall into danger', but not 'come to danger'.

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 17-Sep-2011 at 15:39. Reason: PS My thumbs-down was for the OP!

  3. Bennevis's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Is this natural?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    In the context given it has to be 'come to no harm'. You can 'fall into danger', but not 'come to danger'.

    b
    "...unless your in an open field or something where you can come to no danger".

    "This option should only be used if it is professionally judged that the child or adult will come to no danger as a result of this action". (a UK-based site)

    What do you think of these?

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    #5

    Re: Is this natural?

    BN''s answer made be wonder whether my mative-speaker intuition was justified. So I looked in BNC:
    1 COME TO NO HARM 26
    2 COME TO NO GOOD 3
    3 COME TO NO KNOWLEDGE 1
    4 COME TO NO DECISION 1
    5 COME TO NO CONCLUSION 1
    See more here: British National Corpus (BYU-BNC)

    That is, after you hear the words 'come to no...' followed by a noun, there's a very strong probability that the next word will be 'harm'. That's the strength of collocation.

    b

    PS BN - That UK-based site may have had content contributed by a NNS. Quite possibly though, the original was 'come to no harm' and someone in the marketing department pointed out that what they were selling didn't 'keep people from harm' but 'helped avoid dangerous situations' - which isn't quite the same. In that case, the writer might have just used an inappropriate word to keep a difficult reviewer quiet - I've done that sort of thing myself when working to a deadline.
    Last edited by BobK; 17-Sep-2011 at 15:59. Reason: PS added

  5. Bennevis's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Is this natural?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    That's the strength of collocation.

    b
    BobK,

    do we have to put the definite article in front of "collocation" or can we just omit it?

  6. 5jj's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Is this natural?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennevis View Post
    BobK,

    do we have to put the definite article in front of "collocation" or can we just omit it?
    In Bob's sentence, the definite article would be inappropriate.

    "Collocation: 2. [U] the fact of two or more words often being used together, in a way that happens more frequently than would happen by chance. Advanced students need to be aware of the importance of collocation." - OALD

  7. Bennevis's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Is this natural?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    In Bob's sentence, the definite article would be inappropriate.

    "Collocation: 2. [U] the fact of two or more words often being used together, in a way that happens more frequently than would happen by chance. Advanced students need to be aware of the importance of collocation." - OALD
    That's the strength of collocation. (which collocation? "come to no ...."?)
    I thought "collocation" is a countable noun as well, just like "expression". Did BobK mean a particular collocation or collocation in general?

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    #9

    Re: Is this natural?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennevis View Post
    That's the strength of collocation. (which collocation? "come to no ...."?)
    I thought "collocation" is a countable noun as well, just like "expression". Did BobK mean a particular collocation or collocation in general?
    He used it in the uncountable sense - see the definition from the OALD in my previous post.

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    #10

    Re: Is this natural?

    Thanks a lot. I know the power of collocation.

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