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 60.00/24.00*
| USD 90.00/27.95*

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 Combinatory Dictionary of English: A guide to word combinations, Morton Benson, Evelyn Benson and Robert F. Ilson (1986) ,
The BBI Dictionary of English Word Combinations: Dictionary and workbook (set), Morton Benson, Evelyn Benson, Robert F. Ilson and Richard Young (1991) ,
The BBI Dictionary of English Word Combinations: Revised edition, Morton Benson, Evelyn Benson and Robert F. Ilson (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 22 other publications

Akbarian, Is’haaq & Fatemeh Elyasi
2023. Developing EFL Learners’ Collocational Knowledge in Self-Regulated Flipped Classroom: A Mixed-Methods Study. Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics 46:4  pp. 562 ff. DOI logo
AKTÜRK, Ahmet, Ali Şükrü ÖZBAY & Hakan CANGIR
2022. Investigation of collocational priming in tertiary level Turkish EFL learners’ mental lexicon. Dil Eğitimi ve Araştırmaları Dergisi 8:1  pp. 1 ff. DOI 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. DOI 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. DOI 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. DOI logo
Doykova, Ilina
2019. Test Banking in English for Medical Purposes (Dentistry). Journal of Language and Cultural Education 7:2  pp. 78 ff. DOI 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 DOI 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. DOI 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 DOI logo
Lin, Yuh-Chang
2015. Raising EFL College Learners’ Awareness of Collocations via COCA. In Intelligent Information and Database Systems [Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 9012],  pp. 170 ff. DOI 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. DOI logo
Men, Haiyan
2018. The Notion of Collocation. In Vocabulary Increase and Collocation Learning,  pp. 9 ff. DOI logo
Mroczyńska, Katarzyna
2023. How collocations are represented and taught in selected legal English textbooks. Crossroads. A Journal of English Studies :40(1)  pp. 61 ff. DOI 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. DOI logo
Römer, Ute
2011. Corpus Research Applications in Second Language Teaching. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 31  pp. 205 ff. DOI logo
Scarpa, Federica
2020. Introducing Specialised Translation. In Research and Professional Practice in Specialised Translation,  pp. 1 ff. DOI 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. DOI logo
Shen, Wei-Wei, Jim-Min Lin, Wai Khuen Cheng & Zeng-Wei Hong
2023. Developing and evaluating an online video-assisted collocation learning system for EFL students. Interactive Learning Environments 31:8  pp. 5292 ff. DOI logo
2024. Alıcı ve Üretici Eşdizimlilik Bilgisini Değerlendirme Aracının Geliştirilmesi. Dil Dergisi 174:2  pp. 23 ff. DOI logo
王, 雪
2023. The E-Rater Scoring Analysis and Writing Problem Spaces. Overseas English Testing: Pedagogy and Research 05:01  pp. 54 ff. DOI logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 12 june 2024. 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.


Terminology & Lexicography


Translation & Interpreting Studies

Translation Studies

Main BIC Subject

CFP: Translation & interpretation

Main 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