The BBI Combinatory Dictionary of English

Your guide to collocations and grammar

Third edition revised by Robert Ilson

ISBN 9789027232601 | EUR 60.00 | USD 90.00
ISBN 9789027232618 | EUR 24.00 | USD 27.95
ISBN 9789027272386 | EUR 60.00 | USD 90.00

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.

Using the BBI: A workbook with exercises is now available online at:

This title replaces The BBI Dictionary of English Word Combinations: Dictionary and workbook (set) (1991) This title replaces The BBI Combinatory Dictionary of English: A guide to word combinations (1986) This title replaces The BBI Dictionary of English Word Combinations: Revised edition (1997)

[Not in series, BBI]  2010.  xxxix, 462 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“Particulary positive about BBI is the didactic grip on the contents. [...] whether one wishes to use the dictionary as studying aid, improve their English skilks, or enquire into the usage of the language, BBI comes across as useful.”
“The Dictionary of Collocations is more than just a reference book. It is an ínvaluable aid for learning words as typically used in their appropriate contexts. The individual articles are well worth studying carefully as the usage of words is illustrated by real-life phrases which are easy to remember. Thus insight is gained into the spirit of the English language and users are presented with a treasure-trove of ready-to-use phrases, enabling them to express themselves in English accurately and correctly.”
“This dictionary is a must-have for learners of English as a foreign language. It also will be a plus for the library reference collection in order to serve a diversified user group.”
“A dictionary of essential word combinations, phrasal verbs, and examples of complementation and usage for speaking and writing English, for learners of English as a foreign language. The revised edition contains some 90,000 British and American collocations. A special effort has been made to include collocations to computer and Internet terms.”
“This is an extraordinary tool for translators into English. It is a dictionary of collocations, and provides information that is hard to find in other dictionaries. It helps you find that elusive word that goes with another, and answers questions about the preposition to use.”
“For the advanced learner of English the BBI provides a good supplement to a standard learner's dictionary. It is also a well-regarded tool for translators and interpreters. [...] it serves as a quick reference for the subcategorization patterns of verbs [...] it provides a wealth of grammatical information beyond what can be found in dictionaries that are primarily definitional in nature.”
Cited by

Cited by 18 other publications

No author info given
2014.  In Lexical Bundles in Native and Non-native Scientific Writing [Studies in Corpus Linguistics, 65], Crossref logo
No author info given
2022.  In Collocations as a Language Resource [Human Cognitive Processing, 71], Crossref logo
2022. Investigation of collocational priming in tertiary level Turkish EFL learners’ mental lexicon. Dil Eğitimi ve Araştırmaları Dergisi Crossref logo
Chan, Hang & Sammy King Fai Hui
2018. A method of prosodic assessment: Insights from a singing workshop. Cogent Education 5:1  pp. 1461047 ff. Crossref logo
Deng, Yaochen & Dilin Liu
2022. A multi-dimensional comparison of the effectiveness and efficiency of association measures in collocation extraction. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 27:2  pp. 191 ff. Crossref logo
Dimitrova, Sylvia & Temenuzhka Seizova-Nankova
2021. A Corpus-Based Analysis Of The Complementation Patterns Of The Adjective “Ashamed”. Studies in Linguistics, Culture, and FLT 9:2  pp. 30 ff. Crossref logo
Doykova, Ilina
2019. Test Banking in English for Medical Purposes (Dentistry). Journal of Language and Cultural Education 7:2  pp. 78 ff. Crossref logo
Estaji, Masoomeh & Mohammad Reza Montazeri
2022. The Representation of Collocational Patterns and Their Differentiating Power in the Speaking Performance of Iranian IELTS Test-Takers. Frontiers in Education 7 Crossref logo
Gholami, Leila
2022. Incidental corrective feedback provision for formulaic vs. Non-formulaic errors: EFL teachers’ beliefs and practices. Language Awareness 31:1  pp. 21 ff. Crossref logo
Kiativutikul, Choorit & Supakorn Phoocharoensil
2014. A corpus-based study of phrasal verbs: CARRY OUT, FIND OUT, and POINT OUT. International Journal of Research Studies in Language Learning 3:7 Crossref logo
Lin, Yuh-Chang
2015.  In Intelligent Information and Database Systems [Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 9012],  pp. 170 ff. Crossref logo
Lu, Huaguo & Xiangqing Wei
2016. Towards an Integrated Collocation Dictionary Plus for Advanced EFL Learners: Greater Availability and Equal Accessibility. International Journal of Lexicography 29:2  pp. 156 ff. Crossref logo
Men, Haiyan
2018.  In Vocabulary Increase and Collocation Learning,  pp. 9 ff. Crossref logo
Nizonkiza, Déogratias & Kris Van de Poel
2014. Teachability of collocations: The role of word frequency counts. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 32:3  pp. 301 ff. Crossref logo
Römer, Ute
2011. Corpus Research Applications in Second Language Teaching. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 31  pp. 205 ff. Crossref logo
Scarpa, Federica
2020.  In Research and Professional Practice in Specialised Translation,  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
Schneider, Gerold & Gaëtanelle Gilquin
2016. Detecting innovations in a parsed corpus of learner English. International Journal of Learner Corpus Research 2:2  pp. 177 ff. Crossref logo
Shen, Wei-Wei, Jim-Min Lin, Wai Khuen Cheng & Zeng-Wei Hong
2021. Developing and evaluating an online video-assisted collocation learning system for EFL students. Interactive Learning Environments  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 30 november 2022. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.

Subjects & Metadata

Terminology & Lexicography


Translation & Interpreting Studies

Translation Studies
BIC Subject: CFP – Translation & interpretation
BISAC Subject: LAN023000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Translating & Interpreting
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2009012597 | Marc record