An ELT Glossary : Colligation


Definition : The tendency of certain linguistic items to occur in specific syntactic contexts and not in others.

Example : Much and many + noun phrase tend not to occur in object/complement position in affirmative sentences Eg:  There are many trees in my garden/ She has much money. with alternative expressions such as a lot of being preferred. They do however occur in the equivalent negative sentences (There aren't many trees in my garden / She doesn't have much money), or in subject position : Many people have argued that.... / Much fuss has been made about ...