When I wrote the article about “Variation in English Words and Phrases”, the one on corpora, I knew what corpora were but, thanks to the examples that Cambridge International Corpus offers, I could test it and now I know how they really work. These examples work like this:
You are given a question like:
Is the word ‘right’ more common in spoken English or in written English?
Then you click on the answer you think is the best and you are given the solution according to the collection of texts that Cambridge takes into account. In this case:
Right is very much more common in spoken English than in written English. Here’s a couple of different examples in spoken dialogue taken from the CIC:
“That’s right. Cos they’ve never seen him.”
“Oh well. And it’s going all right is it?”
As we can notice, this corpus is very useful not only for students of English but also for teachers. With this tool we can avoid mistakes due to the differences between languages such as the use of prepositions, the register or the dialectal variations.
Cambridge International Corpus: