Academic collocation list

The Academic Collocation List (ACL) comprises 2,469 most frequent and pedagogically relevant lexical collocations in written academic English. It was compiled from the written curricular component of the Pearson International Corpus of Academic English (PICAE) comprising over 25 million words.

The development involved four stages:

  • computational analysis of the corpus;
  • refinement of the data-driven list based on quantitative and qualitative parameters;
  • expert review;
  • systematization.

While using statistical information to help identify and prioritize the corpus-derived collocational items, we also employed expert judgement to ensure pedagogical relevance as well as usability. By highlighting the most important cross-disciplinary collocations, the ACL can help learners increase their collocational competence and thus their proficiency in academic English. The ACL can also support EAP teachers in their lesson planning and provide a research tool for investigating academic language development.

Download Academic Collocation List (PDF)

Download Academic Collocation List (.xls)


We would like to thank Professor Douglas Biber, Regents’ Professor, Applied Linguistics Northern Arizona University and Bethany Gray, Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Department of English Iowa State University for conducting the computational analysis of the source corpus.

We would like to express our gratitude to Andrew Roberts, computational linguist, for tagging the initial collocation list and conducting the validation study of the Academic Collocation List. We are also grateful to the members of the expert panel: David Crystal, Honorary Professor of Linguistics, University of Bangor; Geoffrey Leech, Emeritus Professor in English Linguistics, Lancaster University; Diane Schmitt, Senior Lecturer inEFL/TESOL, Nottingham Trent University; Della Summers, Dictionary Consultant; and Professor Lord Randolph Quirk, FBA.

Lastly, we would also like to thank Mike Mayor, Editorial Director, Dictionaries & Reference, Pearson, and Chris Fox, Managing Editor, Pearson for contributing valuable advice as well as John H.A.L. De Jong, Senior Vice President, Standards and Quality Office, Pearson for his support throughout the project.

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