Journal of Social Sciences

Contrastive Analysis of Stretched Collocations with Get and Take: Their use and Pedagogical Implications

Silvia Molina Plaza

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2015.179.193

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 11, Issue 3

Pages 179-193


This paper explores the pedagogical implications of contrastive analyses of light verb constructions containing get and take in English and Spanish based on electronic corpora, the British National Corpus (BNC) and the Corpus de Referencia del Español Actual (CREA). The main tenets of collocations from a contrastive perspective-and the points of contact and departure between both languages-are discussed prior to examining the commonest types of verb+ noun combinations (i.e., take a bath, take advantage of), verb+ adjective (i.e. get ready, get worse, get angry), verb+ participle (i.e., get married, get dressed) as significant cases of so-called “light”, “empty”, “thin”, “stretched” or “support” verbs. A quantitative and qualitative-oriented case study is accordingly conducted, determining the weight of get and take in stretched collocations in the BNC and of the Spanish equivalent verbs constructions within the CREA. Based on empirical data obtained this way, this paper provides relevant insights for more accurate translations, helping to enhance the collocational competence of L2 students, who tend to avoid constructions including empty verbs in favour of full verb forms. The findings in this study shed light on the potential of corpora resources for improving the collocational usage of foreign-language learners, as quantitative and qualitative comparisons of collocations serve to highlight the similarities and, more importantly, the lexical, cognitive and typological differences between these phraseological constructions in the two languages, thereby substantiating the very useful role that corpus analysis may play for language teaching in general and for collocational knowledge and proficiency in particular.


© 2015 Silvia Molina Plaza. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.